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New Signs in Downtown Jamaica to Help Tourists, Locals Get Around

By Ewa Kern-Jedrychowska | June 26, 2016 12:32pm
 New wayfinding signs are currently being installed in Downtown Jamaica.
New wayfinding signs are currently being installed in Downtown Jamaica.
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DNAinfo.com/Ewa Kern-Jedrychowska

QUEENS — As Jamaica becomes one of the fastest-growing hotel hubs in New York, the city is rolling out a set of new signs to help visitors and locals alike navigate the bustling public transportation system as well as the areas' landmarks, parks and civic institutions.

The signs include maps of the neighborhood and list points of interest in the area. They also contain information about subway entrances, bus routes, show neighborhood parks as well as civic and cultural institutions and give pedestrians suggestions on how to get from one point to another.

Twelve new signs have already been placed in the neighborhood and about eight more will be added by the end of the year, according to the city's Department of Transportation.  

The signs are being installed in the areas close to major train stations like Jamaica Center and along main arteries like Sutphin and Parsons boulevards and Jamaica Avenue.

Several are also planned near important institutions in the neighborhood, like York College and the Queens Central Library, and some are being installed next to bus stops along the new Select Bus Service route on the Q44, according to a map of sign locations provided by the DOT.

“This accommodation will help to continue develop Jamaica as the first-class community our residents and visitors deserve," said local Councilman Daneek Miller, who allocated about $377,000 for various DOT projects to improve Downtown Jamaica, including installing new signs. 

"Wayfinding will ensure that people know and are able to navigate through beautiful downtown Jamaica and experience all our community has to offer,” Miller added.

Currently, similar signs are installed in several neighborhoods in Manhattan and Brooklyn, as well as in Long Island City. 

"We are also looking to add them in places like Downtown Far Rockaway," said Queens Transportation Commissioner Nicole Garcia. 

The program is coming to Jamaica in the wake of a boom in the hotel industry. There are at least 10 hotels currently planned for the neighborhood, which would bring about 1,600 new rooms in addition to about 400 rooms now available in the area.

Last year, the city also launched the “Jamaica Now Action Plan,” a set of goals seeking to revitalize Jamaica by developing vacant spaces and bringing new retail.

Rhonda Binda, executive director of the Jamaica Center Business Improvement District, said she hopes the new signs will also inspire "healthier lifestyles along with greater community and business engagement" by encouraging locals and visitors to walk around the neighborhood and discover what the area has to offer.

"[I]t will be easier to find the newly remodeled and Wi-Fi enabled Rufus King Park, among other major institutions like York College, the Jamaica Performing Arts Center and St. John’s University," Binda said. "And people will be surprised how walkable and connected downtown already is by foot."