QUEENS WEEKLY, FEBRUARY 9, 2020
Planning for a safer
Assembly candidate Jessica González-Rojas presents her plan for street safety along
Northern Boulevard. Courtesy of Gonzalez-Rojas’ campaign
BY BILL PARRY
A progressive, insurgent Assembly
candidate from Jackson Heights has presented
a radical plan to end the carnage of
Northern Boulevard, the most dangerous
roadway in Queens.
Jessica González-Rojas presented her
bold plan surrounded by community leaders,
small business owners and transportation
advocates at 80th Street and Northern
Boulevard, where 11-year-old Miguel
Torres was struck and killed in 2012.
“We must end the ‘Boulevard of Death’
once and for all,” González-Rojas said. “I
am running for New York State Assembly
to be a leader in confronting the major challenges
facing our community. I am willing
to fight for a better future with cleaner air,
safer streets and faster commutes. We can
build a coalition of community members
to bring about transformative change and
improve the lives of everyone.”
Her plan called Green New Northern,
would restrict access to the thoroughfare
to only buses, emergency vehicles between
Queens Plaza and 114th Street. It would allow
for Northern Boulevard to run express
bus service to Manhattan, safer crossing
for students and seniors, and reduced air
pollution from cars on a 4.3-mile stretch
from the Grand Central Parkway to
Queens Plaza, where there have been 2,783
reported crashes since 2017 injuring 73 cyclists,
129 pedestrians and 549 motorists,
with six pedestrian deaths, she said.
González-Rojas will challenge Assemblyman
Michael DenDekker who she accused
of being supportive of the car culture.
DenDekker has not faced a primary
or general election opponent since he was
sent to Albany in 2008.
“I have not seen the entirety of the
plan, but as I have said before, everything
is on the table when it comes to pedestrian
safety, combating climate change and
improving bus transit,” DenDekker said.
“From what I heard about the plan, I believe
others have proposed similar suggestions
to the New York City Department of
Transportation. I will reserve judgement
until NYC DOT comes out with the results
of their study on the Northern Boulevard
González-Rojas noted that nearly two
dozen schools are within walking distance
of Northern Boulevard and that more than
2,500 young children are endangered simply
by walking to school.
“As a small-business owner on Northern
Boulevard, we are very aware of the dangers
this highway poses to our community.
It has physically divided the neighborhood
for years and has caused many tragic and
needless deaths,” Queensboro Restaurant
Owner Dudly Stewart said. “It is time to focus
on pedestrians, and not cars. All of the
family-owned, local businesses on Northern
Boulevard will benefit from having
less traffic speeding through our neighborhoods.
Improving bus service, creating
bike lanes, and slowing traffic so that pedestrians
can finally shop and stroll along
the boulevard will be much safer and much
better for business.”
As he awaits the DOT redesign plan,
DenDekker points out the stretch of Northern
Boulevard in question crosses several
district lines from Long Island City to Corona.
“I can only speak to the stretch of
Northern Boulevard within my district,
which is between Junction Boulevard and
56th Street,” DenDekker said. “I believe
other elected officials on the city, state and
federal levels that represent other parts of
Northern Boulevard will also have to be
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