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City to Widen Main Street Sidewalk in Major Flushing Overhaul

By Katie Honan | July 19, 2016 5:13pm
 The street will be widened by as much as eight feet in some places, officials said. The goal is to fit more people on the busy sidewalks.
The street will be widened by as much as eight feet in some places, officials said. The goal is to fit more people on the busy sidewalks.
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DNAinfo/Katie Honan

FLUSHING — The city is launching a nearly $8 million project to widen the sidewalks on a stretch of bustling Main Street, one of the busiest pedestrian corridors in the five boroughs, officials said. 

The roadway will also be resurfaced and rebuilt, and manholes, fire hydrants, sewers and water mains will be replaced — the first overhaul in two decades, according to officials.

During the construction project — which begins Monday, July 25, and will last approximately a year — the community will experience inconveniences and changes, Councilman Peter Koo warned.

But the major revamp will have more long-term benefits to everyone, including adding as much as 8 feet of space on some sidewalks, he said.

"The reconstruction of Main Street is a major capital improvement project for our district that will significantly improve the long-term quality of life in the downtown Flushing area," he said.

The street widening will be done between 38th and 41st avenues, which, along with other streets in downtown Flushing, is second to Times Square with pedestrian traffic, Koo said. 

The first phase of the project will include utility work from partners like Con Edison, officials said. Businesses have been notified of the major work, and a community liaison who speaks multiple languages will be on-call to hear concerns, they added.

Construction will be done at night, and the street will remain open to two-way traffic, although there will be some detours. Bus stops will also be relocated during construction, according to officials.

Koo joined the head of the city's Department of Design and Construction Commissioner Feniosky Peña-Mora, the borough's commissioner at the Department of Transportation, Nicole Garcia, and other officials for a tour of Main Street on Monday.

He compared walking on the commercial strip to playing professional football.

"You shouldn't have to play on the punt return team for the New York Jets to walk down Main Street, but unfortunately that's what it feels like," Koo said. "One wrong step and you'll be knocked around, or out of bounds, by people coming toward you."

During the tour, one decades-long resident said it was "wonderful" to learn about the proposed street widening. 

"The population here has grown tremendously," Diane Seibert, 63, said.