FOR BREAKING NEWS VISIT WWW.QNS.COM SEPTEMBER 20, 2018 • THE QUEENS COURIER 11
Transit advocates petition for change on the new ‘Boulevard of Death’ in Queens
BY ALEJANDRA O’CONNELLDOMENECH
Giovanni got killed. It really traumatized
the neighborhood,” said Jackson Heights
resident Rebecca Ortman.
“I am scared for my sixth-grade son who
will need to commute down Northern in
a year’s time,” she added.
A number of Queens residents believe
that the city should install more speed
cameras and pedestrian medians and
allow the light to give pedestrians more
time to walk.
Transportation Alternatives believes that
the boulevard has been optimized for “the
convenience of drivers,” citing the prevalence
of auto dealers showcasing inventory
on sidewalks, oversized trucks using the
street illegally and reckless driving.
Another staggering statistic that they
mention is that 404 cyclists and pedestrians
have been injured on Northern
Th e DOT stated in an email that since
the launch of Vision Zero in early 2014,
the city has improved roadway safety. But
further improvements need to be made.
An additional study of potential traffi c
safety improvements from 56th to 114th
streets — a 2.6-mile stretch of the boulevard
running through Woodside, Jackson
Heights and Corona — is expected to be
completed this fall.
“Th e study will investigate adding
improvements such as signal timing modifi
cations, pedestrian islands, additional
left turn calming, and other measures,”
the DOT statement said. “Additional left
turn calming” refers to the installation
of new barriers to make drivers be more
cautious when turning left .
According to the DOT, pedestrian
islands will be added to a 22-block stretch
of the boulevard with the highest concentration
of recent pedestrian fatalities,
between 70th and 92nd streets. Additional
pedestrian islands will be installed “in the
coming years” at the corners of Northern
Boulevard and 36th Street, 37th Street,
37th Avenue, 41st Street, 46th Street, 47th
Street, 49th Street and 50th Street.
Future plans for next year include creating
additional pedestrian islands, curb
extensions and two reconstructed triangle
between Newtown Road and Broadway.
YOU GOTTA SEE IT
TO BELIEVE IT!
Northern Boulevard has become
“the new Boulevard of Death,” according
to a petition started by local activist
and co-founder of Make Queens Safer
Cristina Furlong in an eff ort to expedite
safety improvements on the roadway.
Th e #FixNorthernBlvd petition, which
has 250 signatures, and a number of
recent pedestrian deaths, including that
of a 70-year-old man, have spurred the
Department of Transportation (DOT) to
announce that early steps to redesign
Northern Boulevard will be taken.
“You would think that the death of
somebody would be enough evidence
that there needs to be change,” said
Juan Restrepo, Queens Organizer for
Transportation Alternatives, a nonprofit
organization focused on improving the
accessibility and safety of New York City
streets for bikers, pedestrians and public
transit. “But that isn’t true.”
Th e nonprofi t is responsible for pushing
the campaign #FixNorthernBlvd
started circulating Furlong’s petition on
Queens social media pages last week.
Th e term “Boulevard of Death” was
fi rst used nearly two decades ago to
describe Queens Boulevard, which also
saw numerous pedestrian fatalities and
deadly traffi c accidents. Public attention
spurred the city to make various changes
to slow vehicles down and make it safer
for drivers and pedestrians alike to travel
Four pedestrians have been killed
Northern Boulevard this year, nine since
2017 and 19 since 2009, according to the
petition. A number of deaths on Northern
Boulevard have been of small children.
On April 28, 9-year-old Giovanni
Ampuero was killed while crossing the
boulevard with his mother, making him
the sixth child to be killed on Northern
Boulevard since 2013. Both mother and
son were in the crosswalk and had right
“We were just two blocks away when
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