Long Island City Links
Long Island City Links is an initiative being developed by the Department of City Planning that will lead to a comprehensive network of pedestrian, bicycle and transit connections between Long Island City residential and business areas and new parks, retail stores, and cultural institutions.
The project is part of a broader City and State effort to re-develop Long Island City’s water-front and a 37 block transit hub located between Queens Plaza and Court Square. Two publicly sponsored development projects – the Queens West waterfront project and the Long Island City re-zoning initiative, which is projected to add an additional 21,000 employees to the Long Island City business district – would be incorporated into the proposal. The idea is still in the development phase, and community input will be extremely important as plans move forward. Long Island City Links grew out of the recognition that Long Island City is poised to become one of the most dynamic commercial and residential areas in the city. Formerly a manufacturing district, the area is already becoming a center of business, culture and housing. Unfortunately, its streetscape reflects its manufacturing past rather than its increasingly prosperous present. The project has three main goals:
- The City hopes to reduce vehicular trips in order to decrease emissions that affect air quality.
- The project would improve the physical environment for bikes and pedestrians through the creation of new bike lanes, identification of sites for new public open spaces, and improved lighting and landscaping along the neighborhood’s sidewalks.
- It would make the bus system serve the needs of the community more effectively.
The project’s primary beneficiaries are the 8,000 residents of Long Island City, and the 50,000 people who work there; however, other beneficiaries will include the growing number of tourists and New Yorkers who visit the area’s museums and cultural institutions. By reducing the number of vehicles and encouraging wide use of mass transit and pedestrian paths, Long Island City Links will help alleviate traffic problems in Hunter’s Point, Court Square and Queens Plaza. Better landscaping and more trees will provide shade in the summer and a more inviting vista. Less traffic and more greenery will improve air quality, helping to alleviate the area’s reputation as “Asthma Alley.” Among the changes that we can look forward to are:
- Streetscape improvements such as better lighting, street furniture, decorative paving materials, directional signs and landscaping.
- An expanded and improved bike path along Queens Plaza and neighboring streets
- An evaluation of the demand for a shuttle bus network through a consolidation of existing and proposed private shuttle bus operations; and
- Evaluating the potential for modified or expanded bus service during off-peak hours.
Rep. Joseph Crowley and I were able to secure $250,000 for the Long Island City Links Project (LIC Links) for fiscal year 2002. The $250,000 from the Federal Government represents the majority of the funding needed for the LIC Links planning project. The New York City Department of City Planning committed to providing $69,800 of the funding for the plan through in-kind contributions.