One of the most dangerous street corridors in all of Queens has received a safety upgrade. NY1’s Jared Smith filed the following report.
The three-quarter mile stretch of Astoria boulevard between 99th street and Ditmars boulevard is a Vision Zero Priority Area, and on Monday the Department of Transportation revealed a number of safety improvements along the busy corridor. They include over 10,000 square feet of concrete work, five new crosswalks, two new signals and 78 upgraded or new pedestrian ramps.
"We took a hard look at Astoria Boulevard, to put together a redesign to make it safer for people to cross,” said DOT Queens Borough Commissioner Nicole Garcia.
"This is a community, this is not a highway. Just because you got off the Grand Central because there was traffic does not mean you can get on Astoria Boulevard and repeat that same amount of speed,” said Council Member Julissa Ferreras Copeland.
The safety enhancements are even more important along 103rd street where back in 2013 a pedestrian was struck and killed while crossing the intersection.
“We were actually able to open up the street by taking out a chunk of the median to create the crosswalks and the signal you see here today,” said Garcia.
The NYPD is also doing their part to keep the boulevard safe for pedestrians.
“This is one of our priorities throughout the precinct, not just because of this initiative but because it is a source of major complaints,” said Inspector Michele Irizarry.
Assembly District Leader Veta Brome has been living in the community for 4 decades and she says these safety improvements are already paying dividends.
"I would describe it as, wow, maybe 80% better than it used to be,” said 35th Assembly District Leader Veta Brome.
There are more upgrades coming down the road as $800,000 is already invested to fix two more intersections in the borough, with work set to begin in the 2020 fiscal year.