“SDOT’s goal is to consistently enhance our project areas, leaving them in a better state than when we found them,” said spokeswoman Diane Park. “This is consistent with our ‘Complete Streets’ policy, which incorporates design principles that make roadways safe and accessible for all users.”
The plazas are a part of the Kew Gardens Interchange Project, which began in 2010 and aims to ease traffic flow on the Van Wyck Expressway.
The work forced the closure of the Briarwood-Van Wyck F line subway station entrance at Queens Boulevard and changed traffic patterns in the surrounding area.
“The department is improving traffic and mobility for vehicles and pedestrians on Queens Boulevard,” Park said. “We are also including design elements to upgrade the aesthetics and provide a more user-friendly environment for pedestrians.”
The three pedestrian plazas, two northern plazas and one southern plaza, will be located along Queens Boulevard above the Van Wyck Expressway.
The pedestrian plazas, and a substantial amount of the $159.4 million portion of the project where the plazas are located, are to be completed by the end of this year.
In August and September, construction crews opened the nearby 82nd Avenue Pedestrian Bridge, completed the new center pier for the Queens Boulevard Bridge over Main Street, and installed southern parapets for the Queens Boulevard Bridge.
Further work on the project, such as plantings, the installation of stone pavers and asphalt pavings, will take place in the spring.