ASTORIA – Local elected officials, including Senator Michael Gianaris, Assemblymember Aravella Simotas, and Assemblymember Brian Barnwell, the Steinway Astoria Partnership, Transportation Alternatives, and Community Board 1 joined Councilman Costa Constantinides to support his proposal for reinvesting in Steinway Street.
The officials also announced that the public can submit their input and ideas by emailing [email protected].
The announcement was made on Friday, February 24 on Steinway Street between 31st Avenue and Broadway in front of the municipal parking lot that was once a public school.
As part of Constantinides’ State of the District Address, he proposed a comprehensive re-evaluation of Steinway Street that will make its streetscape safer and more conducive to commerce.
The proposals included traffic mitigation measures including mid-block crossings and Leading Pedestrian Intervals (LPIs) so that shoppers can more easily and safely cross the street to travel between businesses. They also included creating a designated public gathering space on Steinway Street for shoppers to relax or gather with others.
Constantinides will work with the Department of Transportation, the Steinway Astoria Partnership, and other community stakeholders on these proposals. Starting in the Spring, a community working group will be formed to discuss the public gathering space.
Constantinides said, “Steinway Street has long been the commercial heart of Astoria. Yet, business along the thoroughfare has been in transition for a few years. Many great shopping areas around our city have measures to mitigate traffic and dedicated spaces for public gathering. We have the opportunity to turn Steinway Street into something similar. A collaborative effort will ensure that plans will benefit our entire neighborhood. That’s why we’re soliciting input from community residents and will continue to work with city agencies and other stakeholders as these proposals come to fruition. Together, we will make Steinway Street safer and benefit our small business owners.”
Senator Gianaris said, “Steinway Street is one of New York’s greatest shopping strips and is a central part of our Astoria community. This proposal would make Steinway Street even better by creating safer street crossing opportunities and a new outdoor space for shoppers to gather and enjoy the neighborhood together. I thank Councilmember Constantinides for his initiative and his continued concern for our community.”
“I want to thank Councilman Constantinides for this common sense proposal. No longer would people have to walk long distances simply to cross the street safely,” said Assemblymember Barnwell.
“I applaud to Councilmember Costa Constantinides for his Steinway Street initiative and his commitment to engaging the community in shaping a better future for this important business district. Anyone who lives in Astoria knows the lure of Steinway Street’s small businesses and restaurants. Yet the street has untapped potential to become even more attractive to shoppers, to be safer for pedestrians and to be a welcoming destination for residents, whether they want to eat, shop or simply share a convivial cup of coffee with friends,” said Assemblymember Aravella Simotas.
FILE – NY State Assemblymember Aravella Simotas spoke about the plans for Steinway Street as Councilmember Costa Constantinides, Senator Michael Gianaris, merchants, and members of the community look on. Photo by Eleni Sakellis
“We thank Council Member Constantinides for making Steinway Street a priority. Enhancements such as mid-block crossings, a Steinway gathering space, curb extensions and wayfinding will go a long way in giving Steinway Street a distinctive sense of place where small businesses thrive and pedestrians enjoy a walkable and pleasant place to shop and linger,” said Marie Tornial, Executive Director of the Steinway Astoria Partnership.
“Transportation Alternatives applauds Council Member Costa Constantinides for his commitment to street safety. Steinway Street has been broken for far too long, and Costa’s proposed changes are good steps forward that will improve conditions for pedestrians. Now is the time to think outside of the box and realize streets like Steinway don’t have to remain broken just because that’s how they’ve always been. We look forward to continued partnership with Costa to improve street safety—on Steinway and throughout Astoria—through reimagining how to best use our streets,” said Macartney Morris, Astoria resident and Chair of Transportation Alternatives Queens Committee.
These proposed streetscape upgrades come as a result of issues related to traffic safety and economic growth. Since 2009, there have been hundreds of traffic-related injuries along Steinway Street between Astoria Boulevard and 34th Avenue. Businesses have come and gone, leaving a few storefronts empty. These proposed changes would improve pedestrian safety, create an anchor space to draw in shoppers, increase economic activity, and encourage community togetherness.
Council Member Costa Constantinides represents the New York City Council’s 22nd District, which includes his native Astoria along with parts of Woodside, East Elmhurst, and Jackson Heights. He serves as the chair the City Council’s Environmental Protection Committee and sits on six additional committees: Civil Service & Labor, Contracts, Cultural Affairs, Oversight & Investigations, Sanitation, and Transportation. More information is available online at council.nyc.gov/costa.