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Constantinides announces plans to upgrade Steinway Street, includes public plaza and traffic improvements

Feb. 24, 2017 By Hannah Wulkan

Councilman Costa Constantinides officially announced plans to update street safety and add a public gathering space to Steinway Street today.

In the coming months, Constantinides plans to make improvements to the streetscape to increase safety and form a working group to determine a space for a public plaza, he announced, along with various other politicians and community organizations.

“Steinway is the beating heart of our neighborhood,” Constantinides said. “Business along the thoroughfare has been transitioning over the last few years. We have an opportunity to ask what is Steinway Street and what is it used for?”

Under Constantinides’ proposal, he plans to install mid-block crosswalks to make the street more conducive to pedestrians and shoppers, as he pointed out that a pedestrian might have to walk up to 1,000 extra feet to cross the street legally to reach a store directly across from where they were.

He also plans to add Leading Pedestrian Interval signals, which give pedestrians a six second head start while crossing the street before the traffic light changes, increasing safety and visibility of pedestrians to drivers.

The most ambitious part of his proposal, however, revolves around creating a public gathering space to provide seating and a place for pedestrians and shoppers to relax along the thoroughfare, though Constantinides is unsure where exactly the plaza would go along the strip.

“Steinway Street has always been one of the biggest and most successful shopping strips around, or I would dare say in the nation, and the reason is because it’s always kept up with the times and the changing neighborhood,” State Senator Michael Gianaris said, adding that the proposed updates are necessary to continue that trend.

The project is still in the very early stages, however, and Constantinides is looking for public input on how to improve the street. He set up an email address to collect public comments, [email protected], and is looking to put together a community working group to figure out where the public plaza should go.

“This is the way community and government work. We have been thinking about these plans for a number of years, talking about them, and going to our elected officials who are really open to the ideas that we had and now we are working together not only on those ideas but even better and more ideas for the street,” said Kevin Foley, the president of the local business improvement district called the Steinway Astoria Partnership.

The streetscape updates are likely to come before the plaza, Constantinides said, but did not say when they would be installed, as he is working with the Department of Transportation on exact details.

Community Board 1 District Manager Florence Koulouris called Steinway Street the “Jewel of New York City,” and said that it will “be even bigger and better thanks to our public officials.”

“We are going to make sure that this area is not bypassed by the future, it is going to be the future,” she said.

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17 Comments

Harry

How about he gets rid of all the Middle Eastern establishments on Steinway!!! You will have much better tax revenue if you open up that street to general businesses such as steakhouses and other types of food and beverage establishments!!! It is a waste to have this stretch between Astoria boulevard and 25th ave dedicated to one type of ethnicity!!! I was born and raised in NY and it bothers me when one street anywhere in my city is strictly for one ethnicity or race!!! PEACE OUT

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Yassss

With the obesity epidemic in this nation a walk of 1000 feet more wouldn’t kill us

Also, double parking is the huge issue with traffic. Especially between 30th and 25th Ave

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Poparoo 46

Hey maaaan its me poparoo, the bull. I like the hookah bars and i run maaan when i see fights. I work out every day maaaaan and play hand ball so i might hurt someone if i fight, i can run fast maaaan . I drink alot of red bull so im fast maaaaan

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Jenastoria

I’ve seen this done successfully when the road is narrowed to a one-way and the pedestrian / seating areas and landscaping are then extended into the added space. It also slows down traffic and makes it much easier and safer for pedestrians to cross. However, this and other designs would require a redesign of traffic flow. The traffic has to go somewhere, and if there’s too much diversion on residential streets, that’s going to be another problem.

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JGF

I like your thinking, it would be a great way to add pedestrian space. But, there is already too much traffic on the immediately surrounding one-way residential streets. I live on one of them and days when Steinway is shut down for a street fair are a nightmare for our block.

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Eric

Like everyone else I can’t think of a space from 28th Ave across to 34th Ave to add a plaza without taking out a structure. The parking lot between 31st and Broadway must stay. Improvements re leading time for crosswalks will help the elderly and families. Mid block crosswalks may slow traffic. Double parking in the evenings makes driving across Steinway on some nights dangerous and confrontational.

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Nectarios

Why don’t we make Astoria great and affordable again like the 90s and early 2000s. Every time constantinides tries to do things it always doesn’t work for us but works for him.

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William

Bravo. I never feel safe walking down Steinway Street. And crossing the street? Those pesky motor vehicles are too dangerous and could not care less if they run me or my child over. Astoria residents have put up with dangerous drivers for far too long.

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B. Cabri

A great start would be removing all the hookah bars on the block btwn 25th & 28th Aves; these establishments attract a crowd that are not neighborhood people, and they bring an unwelcome element to the neighborhood, (see: littler & broken bottles, used condoms, syringes and spent bullet casings on any given Sunday morning). Those of us who live here shouldn’t have to a) take our lives in our own hands walking down our Main Street at night, and b) shouldn’t have to clean up the mess after these “visitors” return to their own neighborhoods.

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Tameka P

Actual little Egypt is the crown jewel of Astoria. I have never seen condoms nor syringes and I have lived in Astoria all my life. You’re clearly making this up.

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Sara

How about you turn yourself in for breaking the law . Aiding and abetting, harboring illegal aliens!

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Hoof Hearted

Pedestrianize it from Grand Ave to 34th Ave. Right know they’re just tinkering around the edges.

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Native New Yorker

You’re out of your fucking mind. That’s a main roadway that leads to Queens Blvd, and back. Closing off Steinway along those avenues will create major traffic issues, not to mention it would interfere with the Q101 bus route, delivery trucks, and emergency veichles. Pedestrian Plazas are the dumbest and most useless things to ever be implemented in NYC. This is not the suburbs, and it’s not the Midwest. If you want to sit with down outside and have a latte while chatting it up with your friends, bring your ass to either a cafe or a park. The streets are for cars, and the sidewalks are for pedestrians —neither are your fucking living room.

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David

Not sure how you measure “useless”.
Pedestrian plazas have been extremely successful in most every place they’ve been implemented in the City. Businesses around them have all benefited from the increased foot traffic. And traffic is calmed, resulting in fewer pedestrians injured or killed.

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Astoria Lifer

The only part of Idea that I like is give the pedestrians a head start i think thats a great idea and will help out. The plaza if done right could be nice as well. However Steinway is a Main roadway and on a Saturday or Sunday is enough of a Pain in the Ass to try and drive down it but adding these walk ways your going to make the car traffic even worse. Also why not looking to add another municipal lot some where or do like the did on 31st and take one of the older building and convert it into a parking garage.

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