Queens Boulevard

New York State Route 25 Union Turnpike (New York) New York State Route 25A

Route map:

KML is from Wikidata
Queens Boulevard
New York State Route 25
A view down Queens Boulevard, near its intersection with Yellowstone Boulevard in Forest Hills, Queens.
A view down Queens Boulevard, near its intersection with Yellowstone Boulevard in Forest Hills.
Part of NY 25
OwnerCity of New York
Maintained byNYCDOT
Length7.5 mi[1] (12.1 km)
LocationQueens, New York City
West end NY 25 (Queensboro Bridge) / NY 25A (Jackson Avenue / Northern Boulevard) in Long Island City
I-278 in Woodside
I-495 / Woodhaven Boulevard in Elmhurst
I-678 / Grand Central Parkway / Jackie Robinson Parkway / Union Turnpike at Kew Gardens Interchange
I-678 / Main Street in Briarwood
NY 25 (Hillside Avenue) in Jamaica
East endJamaica Avenue in Jamaica

Queens Boulevard is a major thoroughfare in the New York City borough of Queens connecting Midtown Manhattan, via the Queensboro Bridge, to Jamaica. It forms part of New York State Route 25.

Route description

Queens Boulevard starts off as a small 2-lane street at Jamaica Avenue, but becomes a 6 lane median-divided street at Hillside Avenue one block north.

Queens Boulevard runs northwest to southeast across a little short of half the length of the borough, starting at Queens Plaza at the Queensboro Bridge entrance in Long Island City and running through the neighborhoods of Sunnyside, Woodside, Elmhurst, Rego Park, Forest Hills, Kew Gardens, and Briarwood before terminating at Jamaica Avenue in Jamaica. At 7.5 miles (12.1 km), it is one of the longest roads in Queens, and it runs through some of Queens' busiest areas.[1] Much of the road is 12 lanes wide, and at its intersection with Yellowstone Boulevard in Forest Hills, it reaches a high point of 16 lanes. Along much of its length (between Roosevelt Avenue and Union Turnpike), the road includes six express lanes (three in each direction) and a three-lane-wide service road on each side. Drivers must first exit to the service road in order to make right turns or pull over; left turns must be made from the express lanes, but only at select cross-streets. It is known as the Boulevard of Death.[2] More crashes happen along Queens Boulevard than any other roadway statewide.[3][4]

Queens Boulevard is also the starting point of a number of the other major streets in Queens, such as Northern Boulevard, Woodhaven Boulevard, Junction Boulevard, Roosevelt Avenue, and Main Street.


At 59th Street, looking toward the East River and Manhattan, 1973

The route of today's Queens Boulevard originally consisted of Hoffman Boulevard and Thompson Avenue,[5] which was created by linking and expanding these already-existing streets, stubs of which still exist. A remnant of the old Hoffman Boulevard can be found in Forest Hills where the local lanes of traffic diverge into two routes, one straight and one that bends around MacDonald Park. The part that bends around the park was the original route of Hoffman Boulevard. The street was built in the early 20th century to connect the new Queensboro Bridge to central Queens, thereby offering an easy outlet from Manhattan.

In 1913, a trolley line was constructed from 59th Street in Manhattan east along the new boulevard. During the 1920s and 1930s the boulevard was widened in conjunction with the digging of the IND Queens Boulevard Line subway tunnels. The new subway line used cut-and-cover construction and trenches had to be dug up in the center of the thoroughfare, and to allow pedestrians to pass over the construction, temporary bridges were built. The improvement was between Van Dam Street and Hillside Avenue, and it cost $2.23 million. The street was widened to 200 feet between Van Dam Street and Union Turnpike, and from there to Hillside Avenue it was widened to 150 feet. As part of the project, there was to have been separated rights-of-way for the trolley line.[6][7] On April 17, 1937, trolley service along Queens Boulevard ended, being replaced by bus service.[8]

In 1941, the New York City Planning Department proposed converting Queens Boulevard into a freeway, as was done with the Van Wyck Expressway from the Queensboro Bridge to Hillside Avenue. The boulevard would be converted to an expressway with grade separation at the more important intersections, and by closing off access from minor streets. As part of the project, the express lanes of Queens Boulevard were depressed in the area of Woodhaven Boulevard and Horace Harding Boulevard (later turned into the Long Island Expressway), while the local lanes were kept at grade level. The plan to upgrade the boulevard was delayed with the onset of World War II, and was never completed.[7]

Safety issues and improvements

Pedestrian Crashes on Queens Boulevard
Year Killed
1990 18[9]
1991 13[9]
1992 5[9]
2001 4
2002 2
2003 5
2004 1
2005 2
2006 2
2007 1

The combination of Queens Boulevard's immense width, heavy automobile traffic, and thriving commercial scene made it the most dangerous thoroughfare in New York City by the 1990s, and has earned it citywide notoriety and morbid nicknames such as "The Boulevard of Death"[10] and "The Boulevard of Broken Bones".[11] Between 1980 and 1984, at least 22 people died and 18 were injured in a 2.5-mile (4.0 km) stretch of Queens Boulevard.[12] From 1993 to 2000, 72 pedestrians were killed trying to cross the street, or an average of 10 per year.[13] Eighteen pedestrians were killed while crossing the boulevard just in 1997. Between 1990 and 2017, it was estimated that 186 people, including 138 pedestrians, died in collisions along Queens Boulevard.[14]

Queens Boulevard's width is comparable to that of Ocean Parkway and Linden Boulevard in Brooklyn; the Grand Concourse and Bruckner Boulevard in the Bronx; Richmond Avenue in Staten Island; and Park Avenue and Delancey Street in Manhattan. Some of the most dangerous crossings of Queens Boulevard are near Roosevelt Avenue, 51st Avenue, Grand Avenue, Woodhaven Boulevard, Yellowstone Boulevard, 71st Avenue, and Union Turnpike; all of these streets either have high vehicular traffic or cross the boulevard diagonally.[15] Pedestrian crossings of Queens Boulevard can be up to 300 feet (91 m) long, or one-and-a-half times the length of a city block in Manhattan.[14]

"A Pedestrian Was Killed Crossing Here" sign on Queens Boulevard at Grand Avenue in Elmhurst

In 1985, the New York City Department of Transportation started a project to examine the causes of fatalities and injuries on the boulevard.[12] In January 1997, the city commissioned a study of the 2.5 miles (4.0 km) of roadway between the Long Island Expressway and Union Turnpike. The study was completed by 1999, and most work was finished by July 2001.[15]:138–143 As part of the improvement process, the city installed new curb- and median-extensions along the corridor; repainted crosswalks so they were more visible; added fences in the medians; closed several "slips" that allowed vehicles to make high-speed turns; posted large signs proclaiming that "A Pedestrian Was Killed Crossing Here" at intersections where fatal accidents have occurred; and reduced the speed limit from 35 to 30 miles per hour (56 to 48 km/h). Pedestrian signals were adjusted so that they were given 60 seconds to cross the boulevard, compared to 32-50 seconds before the improvements.[15]:139–146[14] A second phase covering the rest of the boulevard was studied from November 2001 to July 2004, and improvements were finished by late 2006.[15]:139–146 These improvements decreased pedestrian accidents on the boulevard by 68%, most notably at large and dangerous intersections.[15]:154 In 2004, only one pedestrian was killed crossing Queens Boulevard.[16]

In 2011, safety enhancements, including pedestrian "countdown" signals that count the time left to cross the street, were implemented. That year was the first year that no one was killed crossing the street since 1983, the year when detailed fatality records were first kept.[17] In 2014, the speed limit on Queens Boulevard was reduced further, from 30 mph to 25 mph (40 km/h). The speed limit decrease was part of de Blasio's Vision Zero program, which aimed to decrease pedestrian deaths citywide. From 2014 to 2016, average speeds of eastbound cars on Queens Boulevard declined from 28.7 to 25.6 miles per hour (46.2 to 41.2 km/h), and the speeds of westbound cars declined from 31.5 to 27.3 miles per hour (50.7 to 43.9 km/h).[14]

In 2015, a new initiative was announced to further improve Queens Boulevard at a cost of $100 million.[18] The section between Roosevelt Avenue and 73rd Street received safety improvements, including pedestrian zones and bike lanes, as part of improvement's Phase 1, which began in August 2015 and was finished by the end of the year.[11][19] Phase 2 between 74th Street and Eliot Avenue began in summer 2016.[20][21] Phase 3 was split into two projects: between Eliot Avenue and Yellowstone Boulevard, and between Yellowstone Boulevard and Union Turnpike. The segment of the Phase 3 overhaul between Eliot and Yellowstone started in May 2017,[22] while the segment between Yellowstone and Union Turnpike would start in July 2018.[23] The project has gained opposition from some of the community boards surrounding Queens Boulevard because parking spots were removed to make way for the bike lanes.[23] Starting in 2019,[14] the whole boulevard will be totally overhauled in a manner similar to the Grand Concourse's capital reconstruction.[11][19] Partially as a result of these safety improvements, there were no pedestrian deaths on Queens Boulevard between 2014 and 2017.[14]

Typical cross-section of Queens Boulevard after the addition of safety improvements, but before capital renovation


This street hosts one of the highest numbers of New York City Subway services in the city. The E, ​F, <F>, ​M, and ​R (IND Queens Boulevard Line) and the 7, <7>​​, N, and ​W (IRT Flushing Line) all use stretches of the right of way; only Broadway (nine services), Sixth Avenue (seven) in Manhattan and Fulton Street (eight) in Brooklyn carry more at any one time. In addition, the Q60 bus travels its entire length, and the Q32 and Q59 buses travel for significant portions of the boulevard's length.[24]

For a few decades, streetcar service operated along the boulevard, and until 1957 operated along the sides of the Queensboro Bridge into Manhattan.[25][26] For the section where the line ran concurrently with the IRT Flushing Line, the streetcars ran in a median below the viaduct supporting the elevated trains. In the space of the present-day Aviation High School, there was a train yard for the streetcars.[8][27]

Major intersections

The entire route is in Queens County.

Long Island City0.000.00 NY 25 west (Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge) / NY 25A (Jackson Avenue west / Northern Boulevard east)Western terminus; NY 25 continues west
0.30.48I-495.svg Van Dam Street to I-495 (Long Island Expressway)
Sunnyside1.21.9Greenpoint Avenue west / Roosevelt Avenue eastWestern terminus of frontage roads
Woodside2.193.52 I-278 (Brooklyn-Queens Expressway) – RFK Bridge, Brooklyn, Staten IslandNo direct eastbound access to I-278 west; exit 39 on I-278
Elmhurst3.35.3Grand Avenue
Rego Park3.916.29 I-495 (Long Island Expressway) / Woodhaven Boulevard – Midtown Tunnel, Eastern Long IslandGrade-separated interchange; exit 19 on I-495
Kew Gardens6.2710.09Jackie Robinson Pkwy Shield.svg Union Turnpike to Jackie Robinson ParkwayEastern terminus of frontage roads; exit 7 on J.R. Parkway
6.9211.14 I-678 south (Van Wyck Expressway) – Kennedy AirportEastbound exit and westbound entrance; exit 9 on I-678
7.011.3Main Street north
Jamaica7.411.9 NY 25 east (Hillside Avenue)NY 25 continues east
7.512.1Jamaica AvenueEastern terminus
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi

In popular culture


  1. ^ a b c Google (January 14, 2017). "Queens Boulevard" (Map). Google Maps. Google. Retrieved January 14, 2017.
  2. ^ Paul Mullins (October 29, 2012). "The boulevard of death: Ghost bikes and spontaneous shrines in New York City". PopAnth.com. Archived from the original on December 27, 2013.
  3. ^ "The New York City Pedestrian Safety Study & Action Plan" (PDF). New York City Department of Transportation. August 2010.
  4. ^ "Addressing an Elderly Pedestrian Crash Problem in New York City". Center for problem-Oriented Policing.
  5. ^ "Town of Newtown, Queens County. Long Island - Woodside". 1873. Retrieved April 19, 2011. shows Thompson Ave. on south border of map
  6. ^ See Flickr album:
  7. ^ a b "Queens Boulevard Express Highway (NY 25, unbuilt)". www.nycroads.com. Retrieved August 4, 2016.
  8. ^ a b Meyers, Stephen L. (January 1, 2006). Lost Trolleys of Queens and Long Island. Arcadia Publishing. ISBN 9780738545264.
  9. ^ a b c Faison, Seth (January 3, 1993). "Pedestrians at Risk On Queens Boulevard". The New York Times. The New York Times Company. Retrieved December 28, 2015.
  10. ^ "Boulevard of death' claims another life". WABC Television. April 9, 2009. Archived from the original on March 6, 2010. Retrieved April 10, 2009.
  11. ^ a b c "Upcoming Redesign Will Make "Boulevard of Death" Safer, DOT Says". NBC New York. Retrieved October 9, 2015.
  12. ^ a b "Current Trends Queens Boulevard Pedestrian Safety Project -- New York City". Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. February 10, 1989. Retrieved October 9, 2015.
  13. ^ "A pedestrian is killed in Queens every 6 weeks on the BOULEVARD OF DEATH". NY Daily News. January 11, 2001.
  14. ^ a b c d e f g "No Longer New York City's 'Boulevard of Death'". The New York Times. December 3, 2017. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved June 2, 2018.
  15. ^ a b c d e "SAFE STREETS NYC: Queens" (PDF). nyc.gov. New York City Department of Transportation. 2007. pp. 136–158. Retrieved March 12, 2017.
  16. ^ "VIOLENT CITY DEATHS HIT HISTORIC LOWS Everything from murders to auto fatalities falls sharply". NY Daily News. January 2, 2005. Retrieved April 10, 2009.[dead link]
  17. ^ "NYC DOT Installs Countdown Signals on Queens Boulevard". nyc.gov. January 24, 2012.
  18. ^ Queens Boulevard Safety Improvements, nyc.gov (March 2015)
  19. ^ a b Fermino, Jennifer (April 1, 2015). "Queens 'Boulevard of Death' to get $100 million renovation to improve safety". NY Daily News. Retrieved April 1, 2015.
  20. ^ Parry, Bill (August 4, 2016). "DOT begins Phase 2 of the Queens Blvd. project in Elmhurst". Times Ledger. Retrieved August 4, 2016.
  21. ^ Giudice, Anthony (July 28, 2016). "More street safety repairs for Queens Boulevard". www.timesnewsweekly.com. Times Newsweekly. Archived from the original on August 2, 2016. Retrieved August 4, 2016.
  22. ^ Kern-Jedrychowska, Ewa (May 11, 2017). "Board Endorses Queens Boulevard Redesign Despite Loss of 198 Parking Spaces". DNAinfo New York. Archived from the original on December 13, 2017. Retrieved December 12, 2017.
  23. ^ a b Barca, Christopher (June 2, 2018). "DOT unveils new Qns. Blvd. phase to CB 6". Queens Chronicle. Retrieved June 2, 2018.
  24. ^ "Queens Bus Map" (PDF). Metropolitan Transportation Authority. December 2017. Retrieved April 24, 2018.
  25. ^ "Queensborough Bridge Railway terminal" Abandoned Stations site
  26. ^ "Queens of the Thirties" Archived May 9, 2012, at the Wayback Machine Lost Magazine
  27. ^ "Queens Trolleys in the 1930s: Queens Plaza and Queens Blvd." on YouTube
  28. ^ "Queens County Inventory Listing" (CSV). New York State Department of Transportation. August 7, 2015. Archived from the original on June 28, 2018. Retrieved September 5, 2017.