Adams Plans Streetscape Upgrades in Jamaica

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Mayor Eric Adams’ administration is looking to stimulate housing and job growth in Jamaica, Queens, by reworking the neighborhood’s streetscape.

The plans — done by New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) and the Department of City Planning (DCP) — will bring sidewalk upgrades, better pedestrian crossings, benches, bike parking, outdoor dining and tree beds with landscaping to Downtown Jamaica, according to the mayor’s office.

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Much of the streetscape changes will come to a five-block stretch of Jamaica Avenue and Archer Avenue, which run parallel, between 150th Street and Union Hall Street, and are expected to boost the attractiveness of the transit-heavy corridor for retail tenants and customers. But the plan doesn’t appear to bring much more to the table for retail and housing apart from polishing the streets.

“Our administration and our elected and community partners are going to create family-sustaining jobs, affordable homes, and vibrant public spaces — and we are getting to work right away,” Adams said in a statement. “Jamaica is a major jobs and transportation hub for Queens and the entire city, but it has been overlooked for too long.”

Much of what is in the “Jamaica NOW: Urban Design Strategy and Streetscape Plan” will be funded through a $62.4 million allocation from the Adams administration announced during his 2023 State of the City address in January. In all, the DCP and DOT will study about 300 blocks surrounding Downtown Jamaica and utilize community feedback throughout the summer and fall.

Jamaica was last rezoned under former Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s administration in 2007 when it tossed 45-year-old zoning laws to allow for more housing density, but nothing out of character in scale to the surrounding structures, especially in the outlying single-family zones.

Mark Hallum can be reached at mhallum@commercialobserver.com.