The facts underlying the Queens Chronicle’s July 5 editorial “Transportation dollars wasted” are simply not correct; nor is its assertion that the $12.7 million investment in the renovation and conversion of the LIRR Sutphin Boulevard underpass was not productively spent.
Almost 85 percent — $10.6 million — of that $12.7 million went directly to LIRR transportation infrastructure improvements and new public sidewalks and walkway and roadway lighting.The enhancement of the Sutphin Boulevard underpass provides a critical link between north and south Jamaica. An area which was once dark, dirty and uninviting, is now beautiful, safe and attractive.The arts groups that will utilize the space are sure to enliven the downtown. One of the groups, Chashama, has already made a substantial positive impact in Jamaica by attracting a major new commercial tenant here.
We agree with the need for better transportation infrastructure and have obtained tens of millions of federal dollars for new infrastructure to support economic growth around Jamaica Station. The project will dramatically improve the station environment experienced by hundreds of thousands of LIRR passengers each day. The station area has been rezoned to accommodate extensive new transportation-oriented commercial and residential development, of which the Shops at Station Plaza are only the very first evidence.
Editor’s note: The description of the project on the GJDC website says: “Shops at Station Plaza, breaking ground this spring, will transform the Long Island Railroad underpass from a dark, uninviting corridor at the heart of the transit hub into a passenger friendly space with special lighting, public art, retail shops, and other amenities. This is a vital pedestrian link between the subway exits north of the LIRR embankment and the development sites to the south.”