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Construction on the ‘Boulevard of Death’ Has Started, Redesign Aims to Save Lives


July 23, 2015 By Michael Florio

Construction work has begun on the ‘Boulevard of Death’ that advocates say will help keep pedestrians, bicyclists and motorists safe.

Mayor Bill de Blasio announced this morning that the Department of Transportation (DOT) started work Monday on its $101 million Vision Zero project to improve safety conditions on a 7-mile stretch of Queens Boulevard that goes from Roosevelt Avenue to Jamaica Avenue.

The DOT is tackling the Roosevelt Avenue to 73rd Street section of the Boulevard first. It is adding protected bike lanes and a pedestrian pathway—and is changing the traffic flow in order to make the corridor safer.

Since 1990, 185 people have lost their lives on the 7-mile stretch of Queens Boulevard that will be undergoing the redesign, according to the DOT.

De Blasio said that these figures are too high and can’t be ignored.

“This change is necessary, as we are losing too many good people,” de Blasio said Thursday at the intersection of Queens Blvd and 61st Street. “We want to banish the nickname ‘Boulevard of Death’ and make it a safe, boulevard of life.”

The number and basic configuration of lanes will stay the same– with three main travel lanes and two service roads.

page-3However, the DOT has created room for protected bike lanes (5 feet wide) and a pedestrian pathway (4-5 feet wide. The department is inserting them where the median between the service roads and the main roads currently is.

The DOT plan also aims to restrict motorists from switching between the main travel lanes and the service roads. The DOT wants to ensure that drivers don’t weave in and out of the service roads to speed up their travel time—or come off the main lanes at speed.

Therefore, the DOT is removing a slip lane at 55th Street that blocks drivers from being able to switch between the main lanes and the service road. Meanwhile, at the other slip lanes (at 59th Street, 59th Place and 61st Street), drivers will face a ‘STOP’ sign before they get onto the service lane.

The STOP sign aims to reduce speed and allow for a safer crossing for pedestrians.

“We will transform Queens Boulevard into the boulevard of life,” Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer said. “Because of this project, life will be safer for pedestrians, cyclists and motorists.”

Lizi Rahman, whose son Asif Rahman was killed while riding his bicycle along Queens Blvd in 2008, has been fighting for years to have a bike lane installed on Queens Blvd.

“If there was a bike lane my son would be ok today,” she said at the press conference. “My dream is now a reality.”

The first section of the Queens Blvd redesign is expected to be completed by the end of October, according to DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg.

This is the first of three segments of Queens Blvd that will be redesigned.

Following the completion of the first phase, DOT will begin redesign work on Queens Blvd from 73rd Street to Eliot Avenue and then from Eliot Avenue to Jamaica Avenue.

“Pedestrians, cyclist and motorist living in Woodside, Sunnyside and ultimately Jackson Heights, Corona and Elmhurst can all live in harmony and safety,” Van Bramer said.

Key design features


2015-06-04-queens-blvd-cb2 by Anonymous ht0rqf

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Anonymous visitor

This city was not designed for car travel. You want wide open roads move to the county. You live in a high density residential neighborhood in one of the world’s largest cities. Why do you expect the roads to take priority when most of the city’s population takes public transportation, walks or bikes?

Dino velvet

@anonymous visitor This city was not designed for car travel?
So why is there 30,000 cabs between yellow taxis & Uber alone? Not to mention all the black cab companies.
Why do we need them if as you state, most of the city’s population takes public transportation, walks or bikes?


What is the DOT and the Mayor going to do about educating the people about obeying the traffic signs – most importantly. I see people crossing QB many times while holding their children’s hands, or when the count is down to “0”. Why not start with the school children and let them go home and teach their parents when it is safe to cross. Not when other people are crossing but only when the traffic sign is in their favor. How about starting with the Pre-K.


If the same amount of people or more die, can we get a refund?

Just watch bike accidents soar because the bikers will think they’re invincible.


The ‘boulevard of death’ was invented by 1010 WINS radio some years ago – a catchy thing to say. When I heard it, I thought WTF?????

The trouble is that people insist on crossing QB on a red light. I see it every day at the subway stop. There is a slight lull in traffic (you CAN see cars in the distance, though) and people step into QB and cross. The signs say ‘someone died here’ but after a day or two, who even notices them? So there are narrow escapes and other times, no escape. All the bike lanes etc etc in the world cannot protect people from their own bad judgment, esp. when crossing a major artery while texting. Or riding a bike while running red lights and otherwise ignoring all the traffic rules and narrowly missing pedestrians.


sure deBlasio’s a wanker, but i can’t understand why people are opposed to trying to make this road safer. of course it’s a photo-op for the politicians, that doesn’t mean it’s not needed.


Small but feisty.
As for de Blasio, he is a big weakling. Get rid of him. He is like climate change: the city is sinking.

Avoid the Noid

Death on Queens Blvd is just more Zionist propaganda like the alleged past existence of buildings they call WTC.

Time's Up

Hell yeah. The Israeli connection is obvious to anyone who’ll just pay attention!


This is all so no one can drive cars anymore and we are forced into mass transit, including busses they plan on buying for all the new people they are going to shove into Queens. This Boulevard of Death gimmick has got to go. People died for years but no one cared until they planned on building luxury condos along it. Cynical politicians.

Mr. Swingline

I don’t know man, did they have to seal off the side road completely?
I wish someone who lives nearby can film these union crooks who takes 1 month to complete a job that can be done in a week and call it a project. At first they reduced the speed limit to 25 so they can write tickets, now this? I am all for safe roads and I really hope this makes this road safe because people drive like maniacs especially coming out of those merges, but couldn’t they have just thought of something better for the area?
What’s best, turn queens blvd into highway, built an upper roadway for people to just drive straight to wherever they are going with on and off ramps. Go to China, go to Korea, go to Vietnam and see how it’s done.


@mr swing line Do you really believe an elevated highway on Queens Blvd, is best? Have you ever seen these ugly things? Do you not know what mobilized the residents of Greenwhich Village to go up against Robert Moses? Do you know what is considered by historians, sociologist, engineers and city planners as to one of the 2 main reasons of the destruction of the South Bronx? The answer to both are the elevated highway. I guess you haven’t taken a good look at the BQE in Brooklyn and what’s underneath it.

Anonymous visitor

So you’d say Queens Boulevard is a safe roadway then? Well it’s not, and the statistics (and experiences of those of us who cross it every day) bear that out. Those of us who don’t have or regularly use a car deserve to have safe travels, too.

Alex S

That’s also why they’re raising the rates of the subway and busses every couple of years. By 2017 it’s gonna cost 3 bucks just to get on a bus or train and I bet there’s still gonna be all sorts of delays and problems that won’t improve transit time at the least but they’ll get to line their pockets with the extra money


“This Boulevard of Death gimmick has got to go. People died for years…”
– so which is it? is it just a gimmick? or is it a road where people frequently die? if it’s a road where people “died for years,” then it probably needs some fixing.


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