By Katie McFadden
A half-mile portion of Edgemere Avenue is now closed for a year and a half. This week, the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) announced that starting on Wednesday, July 19, Edgemere Avenue will be closed from Beach 32nd to Beach 41st Street for 18 months for infrastructure improvements as part of the coming Arverne East Development, the city’s first net zero community that will provide 1,650 units of housing, retail, community space and a public nature preserve.
HPD and Arverne East – Edgemere Developers LLC will be conducting the work “to protect the area from the impacts of climate change,” according to a press release. “Both westbound and eastbound lanes of this portion of Edgemere Avenue from Beach 32nd to Beach 41st will be closed. Motorists are advised to take detours to Rockaway Freeway, Rockaway Beach Boulevard, and Beach Channel Drive during the road closure.
“Variable Message Signs will be placed at key locations to inform motorists and flaggers will be posted on an as needed basis. There will also be ongoing monitoring and communication with local stakeholders as the project progresses.
“The roadwork will improve streetscape conditions and replace outdated infrastructure along Edgemere Avenue between Beach 32nd Street and Beach 38th Street, which has been underutilized for decades and is insufficient to support future development in the area.
“The reconstruction of the public street includes replacing outdated infrastructure with resilient features and will add new utilities (including storm and sanitary sewers, water mains, electric and gas), sidewalks, curbs, paving, painting, hydrants, tree plantings, street lighting and the installation of a network of green infrastructure elements including rain gardens and stormwater swales.
“These improvements will also provide an attractive streetscape for adjacent communities and the future Arverne East development which will deliver 1,650 units of housing, a 35-acre nature preserve and a main retail corridor connecting the 36th Street A train subway station to the beach. Upon completion, Arverne East will be the first net zero community in the city,” the HPD press release read.
Community Board 14 members met with HPD, DOT and Arverne East last week to bring up concerns about starting the project in the middle of the busy summer and during hurricane season, but the meeting did not go well for the community, according to CB14. In a mass email, CB14 said, “We believe this is just bad and dangerous planning closing one of three major east- west evacuation routes, not to mention the traffic it will cause during beach season. The Department of Transportation has for decades enforced a summer embargo for all of the East-West roadways in Community Board 14 as a commonsense courtesy. Unfortunately, they refused to do so in this case.”