Queens Borough President Melinda Katz (D) and City Council Member Eric Ulrich (R-Belle Harbor, Breezy Point, Broad Channel, Howard Beach, Lindenwood, Neponsit, Ozone Park, Richmond Hill, Rockaway Park, Roxbury, South Ozone Park, West Hamilton Beach, Woodhaven) yesterday joined the city’s Department of Transportation (DOT) to announce the installation of new distinctive pedestrian lighting treatments under the elevated J/Z subway tracks over Jamaica Avenue in Woodhaven.
Representatives of the Woodhaven Business Improvement District, the Greater Woodhaven Development Corporation, and the Woodhaven Residents’ Block Association joined the lawmakers.
As part of the first phase of the project, installations are now complete at nearly a dozen locations between 91st Street and Woodhaven Boulevard. DOT will continue the installation throughout the fall.
“Around the City, we have heard from small businesses and New Yorkers near elevated trains, and who feel safer and more secure when streets and sidewalks down below are more brightly lit,” said DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg. “This new lighting will not only improve quality of life for commuters and shoppers along Jamaica Avenue, these new energy-efficient LED treatments provide a sustainably lit and safer retail and community environment.”
The poles for the newly installed World’s Fair pedestrian lights were first introduced in the borough in 1964 during the World’s Fair held in Flushing Meadows Corona Park.
“It is a special treat to bring elements of the 1964 World’s Fair — a part of Queens’ rich history — to the streets of Woodhaven today,” said Katz. “Thanks to the partnership with DOT and Council Member Ulrich, the new sustainable lighting along Jamaica Avenue in Woodhaven will enhance the streetscape for residents, businesses and visitors alike.”
The Jamaica Avenue project was funded with $1.4 million in capital contributions from through Ulrich and Katz’s office. This includes future phases of lighting that DOT will be able to install from recent contributions from elected officials.
“I am proud to partner with the Department of Transportation and the Queens Borough President’s office to bring these much-needed lights to Jamaica Avenue,” said Ulrich. “The newly-installed World’s Fair pedestrian lights will not only make our streets safer – they will also add a unique aesthetic vibe to one of the busiest commercial corridors in Queens – all at a minimal impact to our environment. This is a victory for residents and visitors of Woodhaven alike.
The funding has made it possible for DOT to install new poles with LED luminaries that provide better lighting for both the street and the sidewalk. The implementation will come in phases and is possible because of the City’s commitment to upgrade LED lighting, which enhances visibility for all, boosts the look of the streetscape and saves on energy costs. LED lights are intended to help the city reduce its overall carbon footprint by over 30 percent by the year 2030.
Lighting under elevated tracks is uniquely challenging because the support columns create shadows and the elevated structure limit the height of the streetlight poles. Both of these conditions make it a challenge to light both the sidewalks and the street.
While DOT is installing these treatments from Forest Parkway to 109th Street, it will continue to work with elected officials to expand the distinctive lighting to other parts of the corridor.