By Sheik Floradewan
A neglected street in Long Island City will soon become off-limits to cars as part of a pedestrian-friendly overhaul that will turn the strip of cement into public outdoor space for community events.
The New York City Department of Transportation has partnered with Street Seats, a citywide program that turns underused streets into public spaces, to transform a piece of 12th Street, between 44th Avenue and 43rd Road.
The Street Seats program a viable way to make the area more accessible to the community, according to a presentation on the project that the DOT gave the Community Board 2 in April.
An ancient glacial rock formation jutting out of the ground on one end of the street made it impossible for traffic to move through it, causing the street to be formerly used by a local business as an employee parking lot.
Street Seats’ sidewalk proposal said the plan will also facilitate the refurbishment of the buildings that surround the street, coinciding with construction of pedestrian access to building entrances.The businesses surrounding the street submitted letters of support for the project.
According to the proposal, the redesign street creates a safe, accessible and protected space for pedestrians. It also offers a space for displaying work by local artists, makers and artists. The street will be made ADA accessible, have moveable furniture and will also have plants and trees in the area.
The project is one of two locations that Street Seats is working on in Long Island City. The project is expected to be completed this month.
“This Street Seat will protect pedestrians and encourage more active street life in this area,” a said a DOT spokesperson in a statement.