Woodhaven and Cross Bay Boulevards

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Woodhaven Boulevard
Cross Bay Boulevard
Woodhaven Boulevard.jpg
Woodhaven Boulevard Map.svg
Map of Woodhaven Boulevard
Former name(s) Jamaica Bay Boulevard[1]
Length 11 mi (18 km)
Location Queens, New York City, New York
South end Beach Channel Drive in Rockaway Beach
Belt Parkway / NY 27 / NY 878 in Howard Beach
Rockaway Boulevard / Liberty Avenue in Ozone Park
Myrtle Avenue in Forest Park
Union Turnpike in Glendale
I-495 in Rego Park
North end NY 25 / Queens Boulevard in Elmhurst

Woodhaven Boulevard and Cross Bay Boulevard (formerly Jamaica Bay Boulevard)[1] are two parts of a major boulevard in the New York City borough of Queens. Woodhaven Boulevard runs roughly north–south in the central portion of Queens. South of Liberty Avenue, it is known as Cross Bay Boulevard, which is the main north–south road in Howard Beach. Cross Bay Boulevard is locally known as simply "Cross Bay", and Woodhaven Boulevard, "Woodhaven". The completion of the boulevard in 1923, together with the construction of the associated bridges over Jamaica Bay, created the first direct roadway connection to the burgeoning Atlantic Ocean beachfront communities of the Rockaway Peninsula from Brooklyn and most of Queens.

Route description[edit]

The road is part of the New York City Arterial System with the unsigned reference route designation of New York State Route 908V (NY 908V),[2] but is still maintained by the New York City Department of Transportation.

Beginning at the intersection with Queens Boulevard near the Queens Center shopping mall in Elmhurst, the boulevard runs generally south through the neighborhoods of Rego Park, Elmhurst, Middle Village, Glendale, Woodhaven (for which it is named), and Ozone Park.[3][4] At the intersection with Liberty Avenue in Ozone Park, the name of the street changes to Cross Bay Boulevard.[4] It continues south through Ozone Park, Howard Beach and across Jamaica Bay via the Joseph P. Addabbo Memorial Bridge through Broad Channel, before finally coming to an end at Rockaway Beach in The Rockaways, after crossing over the Cross Bay Bridge.[4][5]

Since Cross Bay Boulevard is a direct continuation of Woodhaven Boulevard, it is a large street, although not as wide. It is a six-lane wide, median-divided boulevard throughout the majority of its stretch (although it shrinks to four lanes once it reaches Broad Channel). It is often a very busy street as well, carrying an average volume of 35,000 vehicles per day[citation needed], mainly because it is the only way to get to Broad Channel and The Rockaways from Queens by car without having to go through Brooklyn or Nassau County. Like Queens Boulevard, many road safety cameras are being installed along Cross Bay Boulevard. Cross Bay Boulevard is approximately 7 miles long. Together with Woodhaven Boulevard, which is 4 miles long, makes it one of the longest streets in Queens, at 11 miles.

Woodhaven Boulevard is an 8- to 11-lane boulevard throughout its entire length,[6] stretching up to 195 feet (59 m) in width, making it the widest street in Queens that is not either a limited-access highway or a state route. The only street in Queens that isn't a highway to surpass it in width is Queens Boulevard (NY 25) at 225 feet (69 m).

Formerly, Woodhaven Boulevard (through Glendale, Woodhaven, and Ozone Park) had up to six central lanes and four service lanes (10 bi-directional), resembling many other major thoroughfares in the New York City boroughs outside Manhattan, such as Queens Boulevard in Queens; Ocean Parkway, Linden Boulevard, Kings Highway, and Eastern Parkway in Brooklyn; and Bruckner Boulevard, Pelham Parkway, and Grand Concourse in the Bronx. However, these service roads were removed in September 2017.[7] It is also the only Queens roadway with its own distinct FIRE LANE markings, similar to those found on Manhattan's north-south avenues. As of September 2017, Woodhaven Boulevard contains dedicated bus lanes along most of its length, while Cross Bay Boulevard does not.


Woodhaven Boulevard in Woodhaven as seen from Woodhaven Boulevard station (J and ​Z trains)
Cross Bay Boulevard in Howard Beach, Queens.

The Broad Channel roadbed of Cross Bay Boulevard was constructed over an aborted turnpike built by a syndicate headed by Patrick Flynn from 1899 to 1901. Flynn planned to build a roadway across the bay eighty feet wide and containing a double-track trolley line, a bicycle path and roadway. Flynn's project aimed at connecting the Jamaica Bay islands, filling in the marshes and leasing properties for homes along the route. The Long Island Rail Road, whose Rockaway Beach Branch trestles were the only transportation connection across the bay at the time, vigorously opposed Flynn's plans in an effort to protect its monopoly. In June 1902, the New York Court of Appeals invalidated the 1892 lease that Flynn's project was based on. Today's Cross Bay Boulevard follows the path of Flynn's proposed roadway and was completed in 1923.[8]

A $5 million project started in 1924 involved the paving of Cross Bay Boulevard with concrete and asphalt, widening the thruway from 50 to 100 feet, and connecting the Rockaway, Broad Channel, and mainland portions as part of what was described as "the largest vehicular trestle in the world". Called Jamaica Bay Boulevard, the southern portion between Broad Channel and Rockaway Beach opened in October 1924, and the entire route up to Liberty Avenue opened a year later in 1925.[1][9][10][11]

Woodhaven Boulevard's northern end at Queens Boulevard was formerly known as Slattery Plaza, where the two major thruways originally intersected with Eliot Avenue and Horace Harding Boulevard. The intersection, along with the Woodhaven Boulevard subway station, were named after Colonel John R. Slattery, former Transportation Board chief engineer who died in 1932 while supervising the construction of the Independent Subway System's Eighth Avenue Line. The construction of the Long Island Expressway along the Horace Harding corridor caused Slattery Plaza to be demolished.[12][13][14][15]

A 1941 proposal would have created an expressway on the route of Cross Bay and Woodhaven Boulevards, connecting Queens Boulevard to The Rockaways.[16]

Once heavily German and Irish, the area is now very ethnically diverse.[17] The headquarters of the St. Patrick's Day Parade Committee is located on Woodhaven Boulevard (see also Irish Americans in New York City).[18]

The first dedicated MTA bus lanes on the corridor were installed in August 2015, on the north end of Woodhaven Boulevard between Dry Harbor Road and Metropolitan Avenue.[19]:4 In September 2017, the NYCDOT announced that the segment of Woodhaven Boulevard between Union Turnpike and 81st Road would also get dedicated bus lanes for Select Bus Service. As part of that segment's bus lane implementation, the NYCDOT would remove the medians separating service-road and main-road traffic in each direction, as well as expand the median separating the two directions of traffic.[7]


A Q53 bus near the northern end of Woodhaven Bouelvard.

Woodhaven Boulevard is served along its entirety by the Q11 and Q21 local bus lines; the Q21 and Q41 also continue down Cross Bay Boulevard from Liberty Avenue to 164th Avenue in Howard Beach, via local streets in Lindenwood. The Q11 runs down Woodhaven and Cross Bay Boulevards to Pitkin Avenue in Ozone Park, and continues through Old Howard Beach or Hamilton Beach. The three local buses run along with the Q52 and Q53, which are Select Bus Service routes. The Q52 and Q53 run down the entire stretch of both Woodhaven and Cross Bay Boulevards to the Rockaway Peninsula; the Q52 terminates in Arverne and the Q53 in Rockaway Park. At Queens Center, the Q11, Q21, and Q52 all terminate; the Q53 continues via Queens Boulevard and Broadway to Woodside, at the 61st Street subway and Woodside LIRR stations.[20][21] The Q11 and Q21 routes, which originally corresponded to the Woodhaven and Cross Bay portions of the boulevard respectively, date back to 1930s when they were among 54 bus routes approved by the Board of Estimate for operation.[22][23]

Three subway stations are located on Woodhaven Boulevard: Woodhaven Boulevard (IND Queens Boulevard Line), Woodhaven Boulevard (BMT Jamaica Line), and Rockaway Boulevard (IND Fulton Street Line). The Long Island Expressway is also accessible from Woodhaven Boulevard near Queens Center in Elmhurst.[3][4]

To the east of the boulevard lies the abandoned Rockaway Beach Branch formerly operated by the Long Island Rail Road, which parallels the boulevard for most of its route between Rego Park and the Rockaways. Both the Rockaway line and the boulevard represent the Woodhaven-Cross Bay Boulevard transit corridor. The rail line north of Liberty Avenue was closed in 1962,[24][25] replaced by the Q53 which until 2006 ran non-stop between Rego Park and Broad Channel, with the Q11 and Q21 providing local service on the Woodhaven and Cross Bay portions of the route respectively.[21] The entire line has been planned to be converted for subway service going back to the 1920s blueprints of the Independent Subway System (IND); the portion south of Liberty Avenue was converted into the IND Rockaway Line in 1956, while the northern portion remains inactive.[26][27][28] Some local mass transit advocates have urged that the northern portion be refurbished and reopened as a faster rail link between Queens and Manhattan. [29] A Select Bus Service bus rapid transit corridor is planned along the corridor, which would attempt to replicate rapid transit service with the current Q52 and Q53 routes. The plan has received mixed reviews, due to the addition of bus-only lanes which could negatively affect traffic flow.[6][30][31]

In popular culture[edit]

Cross Bay Boulevard was mentioned in The Vaccines' song Nørgaard about Danish model Amanda Nørgaard.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "CROSS BAY VIADUCT BIDS CALLED FOR: Jamaica Bay Boulevard Will Create Direct Route From Rockaways to New York". nytimes.com. The New York Times. October 9, 1921. Retrieved 6 July 2015. 
  2. ^ NYSDOT Highways in Queens County
  3. ^ a b "MTA Neighborhood Maps: Forest Hills" (PDF). mta.info. Metropolitan Transportation Authority. 2015. Retrieved 6 July 2015. 
  4. ^ a b c d "MTA Neighborhood Maps: Woodhaven" (PDF). mta.info. Metropolitan Transportation Authority. 2015. Retrieved 6 July 2015. 
  5. ^ "MTA Neighborhood Maps: The Rockaways" (PDF). mta.info. Metropolitan Transportation Authority. 2015. Retrieved 6 July 2015. 
  6. ^ a b "Woodhaven-Cross Bay Boulevards Select Bus Service: October 22, 2014: Community Advisory Committee Design Options Meeting" (PDF). nyc.gov. Metropolitan Transportation Authority, New York City Department of Transportation. October 22, 2014. Retrieved 6 July 2015. 
  7. ^ a b "What's Happening Here?" (PDF). nyc.gov. New York City Department of Transportation. September 2017. Retrieved September 6, 2017. 
  8. ^ Black, Frederick R. "JAMAICA BAY: A HISTORY", Gateway National Recreation Area, National Park Service, 1981. Accessed November 7, 2007.
  9. ^ "OPEN A BOULEVARD OVER JAMAICA BAY; City Officials Take Part in Exercises at New $5,000,000 Causeway.", The New York Times, October 12, 1924. Accessed November 7, 2007.
  10. ^ "JAMAICA BAY HIGHWAY READY THIS MONTH: New $7,000,000 Boulevard Will Be Open to Motorists the Week of Oct. 26". nytimes.com. The New York Times. October 11, 1925. Retrieved 6 July 2015. 
  11. ^ "Cross Bay Boulevard: Rockaway Property Owners Want Work Hurried". nytimes.com. The New York Times. October 7, 1917. Retrieved 6 July 2015. 
  12. ^ "PWA Party Views New Subway Link: Queens Section to Be Opened Tomorrow Is Inspected by Tuttle and Others". nytimes.com. The New York Times. December 30, 1936. Retrieved 27 June 2015. 
  13. ^ Schneider, Daniel B. (October 15, 2000). "F.Y.I". nytimes.com. The New York Times. Retrieved 27 June 2015. 
  14. ^ Karni, Annie (October 7, 2012). "Subway stations retain signs listing places and streets that no longer exist". nypost.com. New York Post. Retrieved 27 June 2015. 
  15. ^ Walsh, Kevin (July 29, 2014). "Ely Around in Queens". queens.brownstoner.com. Blank Slate Factory, Inc. Retrieved 27 June 2015. 
  16. ^ Cross Bay-Woodhaven Express Highway, NYCRoads.com. Accessed November 7, 2007.
  17. ^ Shaman, Diana (September 20, 1998). "If You're Thinking of Living In Woodhaven, Queens; Diversity in a Cohesive Community". The New York Times. Retrieved November 8, 2007. 
  18. ^ Barry, Dan (March 7, 2001). "Secret List Sets Off St. Patrick's Parade Squabble". The New York Times. Retrieved November 8, 2007. 
  19. ^ "Woodhaven / Cross Bay Boulevard (Q52/53) Community Advisory Committee Meeting #5" (PDF). nyc.gov. Metropolitan Transportation Authority, New York City Department of Transportation. December 15, 2015. Archived (PDF) from the original on December 26, 2015. Retrieved December 26, 2015. 
  20. ^ "Queens Bus Map" (pdf). MTA New York City Transit. 
  21. ^ a b "Queens Bus Map" (PDF). nycityhealth.com. Metropolitan Transportation Authority. Retrieved 6 July 2015. 
  22. ^ "54 Bus Routes Win Approval By City". nytimes.com. The New York Times. January 28, 1931. Retrieved 6 July 2015. 
  23. ^ "AGREES TO REVISE QUEENS BUS GRANTS". nytimes.com. The New York Times. April 6, 1932. Retrieved 6 July 2015. 
  24. ^ Bresiger, Gregory (July 18, 2012). "The Trains Stopped Running Here 50 Years Ago". qgazette.com. Queens Gazette. Retrieved 3 July 2015. 
  25. ^ The Long Island Rail Road: A Comprehensive History Volume #5; New York, Woodhaven & Rockaway Railroad; New York & Rockaway Beach railway; New York & Long Beach Railroad; New York & Rockaway railroad; Brooklyn rapid transit operation to Rockaway; Over L.I.R.R., by Vincent F. Seyfried
  26. ^ "City Board Votes New Subway Links". nytimes.com. The New York Times. March 19, 1937. Retrieved 3 July 2015. 
  27. ^ Dunlap, David W. (July 30, 2014). "Clashing Visions for Old Rail Bed (Just Don't Call It the High Line of Queens)". nytimes.com. The New York Times. Retrieved 3 July 2015. 
  28. ^ Freeman, Ira Henry (June 28, 1956). "Rockaway Trains to Operate Today". nytimes.com. The New York Times. Retrieved 29 June 2015. 
  29. ^ http://www.queensrail.org/
  30. ^ Woodhaven-Cross Bay Boulevards Select Bus Service, nyc.gov. Retrieved 2014-09-20.
  31. ^ Geffon, Stephen (July 2, 2015). "HBL-Civic blasts bus lane proposal: Community says they don't want SBS plan in their neighborhood". qchron.com. Queens Chronicle. Retrieved 6 July 2015. 

External links[edit]

Route map: Google

KML is from Wikidata