A Platform for Building a Constructive Approach to the Open Street Program
The Jackson Heights Beautification Group has been advocating for neighborhood improvements and community engagement through wide ranging popular programs serving all segments of our diverse population for more than 30 years. We seek to continue to serve our community by bridging the current divide over the 34th Avenue Open Street program, focusing debate on helpful solutions.
Though the JHBG supports the 34th Avenue Open Street (and Open Streets in general), we recognize that some of our neighbors opposing the program are raising issues that should be addressed. We call upon our elected officials to consider these concerns and work towards solutions that are inclusive of the area’s diverse constituents.
The 34th Avenue Open Street program represents a rare opportunity to construct a new healthful amenity that will contribute to our community’s social life. For a New York City neighborhood short on park space, this program is a true asset. At 1.3 miles in length, our program is one of the longest in the city.
The following are some of the key concerns raised by our neighbors and some suggested areas for mitigating impending challenges:
Problems of access Guaranteeing unencumbered entry to buildings for disabled residents, as well as car owners with parking garages along the avenue, schools and delivery trucks, especially those serving commercial locales along 34th Avenue.
Facilitating municipal services Ensuring maintenance of roads in the form of snow removal and easy access for emergency vehicles and regular sanitation services.
The proliferation of vendors along 34th Avenue, especially those serving food Vending regulations, additional sanitation services and other maintenance, along with vermin abatement, are needed alongside enforcement practices for addressing related nuisances.
Road safety: cars, electric scooters, motorcycles, and other forms of electric transport present special hazards when mixed with pedestrians Clear and visible rules governing direction of travel as well as the safe separation of vehicles and pedestrians are required, as is strict enforcement of the rules.
Traffic congestion on adjacent streets, especially, but not limited to 35th Avenue, particularly during rush hours and late afternoons/early evenings on weekends We recommend the reconstruction and widening of the median to improve tree survival with improvements extending to Junction Boulevard. This part of the neighborhood has a greater concentration of immigrants and elderly residents, and often receives less attention than other areas.
Rules of conduct for unmotorized users, reducing excessive noise and illegal behaviors As much as drivers and riders must meet a standard of conduct, so should pedestrians and visitors of all sorts. With open access to greenways and increased pedestrian traffic, standards must be set and enforced to protect existing plant life and improve maintenance.
Protecting and enhancing our median greenways Existing plant life is now under added stress with foot traffic from people and pets requiring signage deterring use of the garden beds, as well as a commitment from city government that in addition to the new trees scheduled this upcoming year, our medians will receive proper care and maintenance including litter cleanup and rodent control.
Several of the points on this list require enforcement. We are prepared to work with the relevant city agencies to help establish and guide proper behavior among the various constituents using and enjoying the Open Streets program.