April 5, 2019 By Christian Murray
A small seating area will be installed on 44th Drive– by Jackson Avenue—this month, with Community Board 2 signing off on the plan last night.
Rockrose, the developer behind several luxury developments in the Court Square area, will start building the “street-seat” in front of its Hayden building, which will see a mini box-like structure—decked out with seats, planters and other accessories—go up.
The street seat, which will be 20 feet in length and measuring 6 feet wide, will be up until December and will be the first street seat in Queens. Its installation will result in the loss of two parking spaces while it is there.
The street seat, which will officially be located at 25-29 44th Dr., is part of a Department of Transportation program where it works with partner companies that want them installed. Those companies, Rockrose in this case, are in charge of maintaining them and ensuring their safety.
Patricia Dunphy, senior vice president of Rockrose, said the street seat would liven up the 44th Drive/Jackson Avenue area, which continues to grow with the influx of businesses like Book Culture and Xi’an Famous Food.
The street seat is available to the public, and alcohol and smoking is prohibited. The seating area must be closed each night by Rockrose.
The street seat is deemed safe, since it will be installed flush against the curb in a parking lane and will be about 7 feet away from traffic—since there is bicycle lane is in between. There will also be a clear delineator between the street seat and bike lane, and concrete wheel stops will be installed to prevent cars from hitting it.
The seats are also sturdy and the city—which oversees 16 throughout the five boroughs—has never had safety problems, according to the DOT.
The DOT and Rockrose, however, have had to adjust their plans in order for Community Board 2 to sign off on it. They originally proposed that the seat go up on the Jackson Avenue side of the 44th Drive-Jackson Avenue intersection.
The initial plan received push back from the board due to safety concerns. Community Board 2 called for it to be moved around the corner since Jackson Avenue is a truck route, while 44th Drive is not. With the street seat program, community boards must approve them before they can go up.
Rockrose and DOT agreed to relocate it, and a public meeting was held at PS 1 MoMA on Feb 16, where the plan was supported by residents and business owners.
Community Board 2 voted in favor of the plan last night, although it called for the DOT and Rockrose to come before the board each year for it to be approved upon renewal.
Most street seats are reinstalled each year, and operate from spring through fall.