Councilman Costa Constantinides and Department of Transportation’s Queens Commissioner Nicole Garcia announced the creation of three new mid-block crosswalks and traffic signals this spring on Steinway Street from 30th Avenue through 34th Avenue.
The measures are the first phase of Constantinides’s proposal to reinvest in Steinway Street, which he announced last year.
“We want residents, shoppers and pedestrians to able to get across easily to get where they want to go,” he said. “This helps do that.”
There are currently no mid-block crossings along Steinway Street, where blocks can stretch up to 1,000 feet. A shopper trying to get to two stores mid-block would have to walk more than 500 feet to reach the nearest crosswalk.
The mid-block crossings are also meant to slow vehicle traffic, while also providing economic opportunities for businesses by allowing pedestrians to cross between stores.
“I’m thrilled because I think it’s a safety measure that’s long overdue,” said Tony Barsamian, chairman of the Steinway Astoria Partnership.
He said business owners in the area are optimistic about the measures because it will create a flow of shoppers and visitors to Steinway Street.
In addition to these safety measures, painted curb extensions and planters will be added in order to reduce the crossing distance and improve aesthetics.
Barsamian said he would like to see further beautification and a public gathering space.
“We want people to come here and stay here,” he said.
Constantinides, who had his first job on Steinway Street, said it was a big deal to see these changes.
“Being able to say that we’re improving the street and making sure that the next generation of Astorians will continue to have stores on Steinway Street is the goal,” he said.