The first phase of work is focused on safety improvements at 85th Road and 89th Avenue.
Those improvements include widening the concrete medians to shorten pedestrian crossing distances, installing pedestrian refuge islands, and upgrading traffic signals and lighting.
It's all part of a larger project to create bus-only lane. The Department of Transportation is aiming to improve bus reliability, travel times, and pedestrian safety.
According to the DOT, there have been 22 deaths and 3,000 injuries on Woodhaven and Cross Bay boulevards in just the past five years.
Residents have been split on the proposal. Community Board 14 voted earlier this year to support it, while Community Board 9 voted against it.
"We think any safety improvements to Woodhaven Boulevard are great but still pushing the same Select Bus Service plan onto the affected communities shows that this administration does not take the opinions of elected officials, residents or the Community Boards seriously," Martin Colberg, president of the Woodhaven Resident's Block Association said.
Some residents have expressed concern over how traffic will flow and that bus riders waiting on a center island could be put in harm’s way, especially in adverse weather.
“I see this work and know it will eventually lead to more traffic and an increasing vulnerability of those waiting for buses,” said Assemblyman Mike Miller, who is opposed to the plan. “This winter bus stops were not cleared of snow, they certainly won't clear stops on the medians.
“There is no way those bus stops will be cleaned in a timely manner leaving riders literally standing in the road of a major thoroughfare,” he added. “Their other option is, standing in a mound of snow.”
Councilman Donovan Richards has been the only elected official in south Queens to support the plan.
“This is about working families having better transportation alternatives for their local communities and getting home a little earlier,” Richards said. “If there are ways to shorten a commute for working families, the city should be doing everything in its power to do that.”