Poor transportation, too many fast food options and crime are some of the barriers residents told Downtown Jamaica’s three Business Improvement Districts, which prevent them from visiting the area. This feedback was part of a forum hosted by the BIDs to gather resident input and participation on improving Downtown Jamaica.
Despite persistently low crime rates, Downtown Jamaica continues to suffer from the perception of being a crime ridden district. Part of that perception has to do with the large number of teens that congregate on Jamaica Avenue at the end of the school day. In addition, residents cite recent high profile police events, including the attack on a police officer by a machete wielding assailant.
Transportation was also an area of concern. Although the Jamaica Center Transit hub is located in the Downtown Jamaica District, residents mentioned how poor service curtails opportunities to shop and dine to just passing through
“I still wait thirty minutes for the Q6 bus,” said Vanessa Sparks a resident who participated in the forum.
“It would be great to get off work, pick up a meal, put it in a bag and then take it home,” said Maria Starks, a resident who participated in the forum and summed up the insights of her group.
In addition to an over abundance of similar stores and too many fast food chains, residents felt that Downtown retail is geared towards a younger market. Sneakers and trendy clothing are heavily marketed, however goods that would be of interest to mature adults and seniors are not readily available and that audience is not coveted. The quality of merchandise and poor service were also in question with residents suggesting the addition of higher end retail.
Residents didn’t only look at external forces as the cause for their for their lack of interest in the area, but took ownership for their part as well for their lack of participation.