QUEENS — Major changes are coming to Queens Boulevard in Rego Park and Forest Hills as part of a $100 million redesign of the entire 7-mile thoroughfare, long nicknamed the "Boulevard of Death," local officials said.
The redesign, which advocates have been pushing for for many years, has sparked outcry in some neighborhoods after city officials decided to implement controversial portions.
However the plan, which was first announced in July 2015, will move forward in its third and final phase in Eastern Queens and will include include safety fixes such as bike lanes, extra space for pedestrians and traffic calming measures.
This year the changes came to Elmhurst, where protected bike lanes have been added to a portion of Queens Boulevard, even though the local community board voted that portion of the plan down.
Another phase of construction in Sunnyside and Woodside was completed last year.
The Rego Park and Forest Hills phase of the project will implement the measures between Eliot Avenue and Union Turnpike sometime in 2017, officials said.
“It’s coming our way,” said John Dereszewski, head of Community Board 6's Transportation Committee at a CB6 meeting Wednesday night.
Dereszewski said that the committee met with the Department of Transportation several weeks ago to obtain more details about the plan and requested another meeting for all board members, which has been scheduled for Thursday, Jan. 5.
The DOT is also planning to organize a workshop for the community, where residents will be able to voice their concerns and provide input.
"I really hope that the community groups get involved in it," Dereszewski said.
The workshop will most likely take place sometime in January, the DOT said Thursday.
The redesign is being done as part of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Vision Zero initiative.
The busy thoroughfare was dubbed the "Boulevard of Death" decades ago, after more than 70 pedestrians were killed in accidents there from 1993 to 2001, according to statistics provided by the DOT.
Despite numerous safety improvements, installed along the boulevard over the years, the boulevard is still considered dangerous for pedestrians, bicyclists and motorists alike.