June 24, 2013 By Christian Murray
The Department of Transportation started rolling out a program today that will install about 100 maps in five city neighborhoods—including Long Island City.
The program aims to provide New Yorkers and tourists with a better sense of direction. Each map will display surrounding streets, notable landmarks, and estimated walking times in minutes to a few nearby destinations.
The Department of Transportation has selected Chinatown, Prospect Heights, Crown Heights, the Garment District, and Long Island City as the neighborhoods for phase one of the program.
Long Island City is expected to start getting the maps in August, with as many as 30 of them spread throughout the Hunters Point, Court Square and Queens Plaza areas.
According to a DOT survey, 10 percent of New Yorkers couldn’t say which direction was north when asked, and one third of those surveyed said they had gotten lost at least once during the past week. Meanwhile 23% of tourists surveyed said they were lost at that moment.
Dana Frankel, District Services Manager for LIC Partnership, said “I think the maps are important for a place like LIC.”
“Navigating the streets in our neighborhood can sometimes be confusing since it is not a typical grid system,” Frankel said. “With so many visitors and newcomers to the area, it will be a valuable program to help welcome those unfamiliar with the neighborhood.”
The maps will feature circles that show distance as well as the time it will take to walk from one location to another. Therefore if a pedestrian were to get off a subway in Queens Plaza the map would show that it is only takes 25 minutes to walk to the waterfront.
Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer played an active role in ensuring that Long Island City was included as part of phase I. The neighborhood was initially left out.
“We will be able to highlight one of New York City’s hottest neighborhoods [through the maps],” Van Bramer said. He said Long Island City has “some of the City’s best cultural institutions and arts organizations.”
The LIC Partnership will serve as a maintenance partner in the program. It will make sure the maps are clean and updated.