$139M Project to Improve Far Rockaway’s Infrastruc-ture Begins


 Far Rockaway’s infrastructure is on its way to an upgrade. On Wednesday, September 18, Deputy Mayor Vicki Been and Councilman Donovan Richards joined with numerous City agencies and elected officials today to break ground on a $139 million project that will transform and revitalize Downtown Far Rockaway, bringing new streets with new pedestrian space, landscaping and green infrastructure plus improved stormwater drainage to an area of Queens that has not seen large infrastructure investments in decades.

“This historic $139 million investment in Downtown Far Rockaway’s infrastructure is a critical component for the future success of our community,” Richards said. “These long overdue investments will bring new streetscapes, plaza space, green infrastructure and improved stormwater drainage that will ensure a more pedestrian friendly Far Rockaway that can better manage future storms while also beautifying the commercial corridors and the transportation hub of the peninsula.”

The project, which began construction this week and is scheduled to take three years to complete, is designed to comprehensively reinvigorate a neighborhood that was recently rezoned to allow for more housing, increased economic opportunity and better transportation options. Work will take place in an area of roughly 25 blocks, centered around the local business district and transportation hub at Mott and Central avenues, where a new library is already under construction. The project was designed and phased to closely align with over 2,000 affordable housing units under construction and planned over several developments.

Streets throughout the downtown area will be completely rebuilt and in many cases, realigned to ease the flow of traffic and enhance pedestrian safety in conjunction with Mayor de Blasio’s Vision Zero goals. About 7,000 feet of new curbs will be installed along with more than 83,000 square feet of new concrete sidewalks. The landscape will be further transformed with new green infrastructure including rain gardens to help with the natural absorption of stormwater and other measures to minimize impacts on nearby wetlands and Jamaica Bay.

Work will be performed in two phases of 21 months and then 13 months, beginning with new storm sewers near Horton Avenue. More than two miles (11,000 feet) of new storm sewers ranging in size from 12 inches in diameter up to 13.5 feet high by 4.5 feet wide will eventually be installed to improve local drainage. More than 120 new catch basins will be installed to capture storm water and direct it to the new storm sewers.

The project will also upgrade about 11,000 feet of existing sanitary sewers with new pipes ranging from 10 to 36 inches in diameter and replace about 10,000 feet of aging water mains with new pipes from eight to 20 inches in diameter. At least 39 new fire hydrants will be installed to enhance local fire protection.

Also planned for the Phase 1 area is a new pedestrian plaza spanning from Beach 21st to Beach 22nd streets, adjacent to the Far Rockaway-Mott Avenue subway station. The new plaza will cover about 15,000 square feet – or more than one-third of an acre – and will include a stage for events, benches and other seating, trees and planters, tables and chairs, a water fountain, bike racks, wayfinding signage and an automated public toilet, all set above a distinctive paving pattern on the ground.

To manage the needs of residents and businesses during construction, DDC has two Community Construction Liaisons (CCL) assigned to the project who will work on-site to keep the neighborhood apprised of construction progress, coordinate street closures and utility shutoff and arrange special requests such as deliveries to local homes and businesses.