City officials and Flushing leaders unveiled the completion of their $7.8. million project to widen the Main Street sidewalks last Thursday.
Parts of Main Street between 38th and 41st avenues were expanded up to a 9 foot distance. This was the first reconstruction of the Flushing traffic center in over 20 years, according to the Department of Transportation.
“After more than a year of construction in the busiest transportation hub in Queens, we are extremely excited to announce that the Main Street reconstruction and sidewalk widening is finally finished,” said Councilman Peter Koo (D-Flushing).
The sidewalk expansion reduced “a half lane” that had been used for illegal double-parking, according to Koo spokesman Scott Sieber. No legal parking spots were removed by the project.
An allocation of more than $300,000 from the councilman’s office went toward the project, which was completed by the DOT and the Department of Design and Construction.
“Its not every day that we get to celebrate and cut the ribbon on a multimillion dollar investment that expands the doors on local businesses, makes it safer for residents and shoppers to visit Main Street and improves a critical access point to one of the top transportation hubs in the borough,” said Nicole Garcia, the DOT borough Commissioner for Queens.
Garcia also recognized the efforts from the DOT and DDC workers who completed the project during the most convenient hours to accommodate commuters and homeowners in the area. She also thanked Council members for bringing the issue of foot traffic to her office and consistently improving their community.
Among those at the unveiling was DDC Deputy Commissioner of Infrastructure Eric MacFarlane, a representative for Rep. Grace Meng (D-Flushing) and other community leaders from Flushing.
“We have also made improvements to utilities,” said MacFarlane. “We’ve installed new street lighting, traffic signals and built six new bus paths along a new bus lane near Roosevelt Avenue.”
The DDC announced the start of the sidewalk expansion project back in September of last year. Engineer-in-charge Mohammad Sadiq stood at the unveiling in recognition of his work and future developments.
Sadiq said another major project by the city resembling the work done in Flushing was announced late July of this year for Diversity Plaza in Jackson Heights.
Although the project was successful, Koo mentioned his concerns over street venters illegally selling products in front of established stores and taking up more street space. He wanted to make sure the enhancement to the sidewalks was acknowledged as one of many initiatives to improve Flushing.
“I want to make one thing clear: These sidewalks are no excuse for illegal vending,” said the councilman. He added that he is working on legislation that will crack-down on vendors and businesses that illegally post on sidewalks and take up essential commuter space.
“Main Street, Flushing lies at the heart of Queens. It is up to all of us, the city, residents, businesses and commuters to treat this community with the care it deserves,” he said.