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DOT unveils safety improvements at Northern Blvd and 48th Street

Photo: DOT

March 3, 2017 By Hannah Wulkan

The Department of Transportation unveiled new safety improvements on Northern Boulevard today, announcing the continuing efforts to increase pedestrian, bicycle and vehicle safety along the busy corridor.

The DOT revealed specific improvements to the five-way intersection at Northern Boulevard and 48th Street, an area that saw two serious pedestrian injuries between 2010 and 2014.

“Northern Boulevard is busy, it is noisy, there are pedestrians, cyclists and automobiles coming from lots of different places, going to lots of different places and in many different directions. It’s an important corridor, and in the past has been a dangerous corridor, and we all have an obligation to make it safer,” said Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer.

As part of the ongoing $1 million upgrade to Northern Boulevard under the City’s Vision Zero initiative, the DOT installed a new pedestrian island in the center of Northern Boulevard with new crosswalks across, to prevent pedestrians from crossing the major throughway unsafely.

Before (DOT)

It also added a curb extension at 34th Avenue and 48th Street to shorten the crossing distance, marked two moving lanes on 48th Street south of the intersection, and reversed 48th Street to be one way northbound from Northern Boulevard to Broadway to help facilitate bus traffic through the intersection.

The Vision Zero initiative kicked off in 2014 with Northern Boulevard listed as a “priority corridor” after 8-year-old Noshat Nahian was hit and killed at the intersection of Northern Boulevard and 61st Street while walking to school in Woodside.

“That tragedy got the vision zero effort going and made us all focus so tremendously on this important life changing work,” said DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg. “Northern Boulevard is critical to Queens and the safety of the tens of thousands of people who live near it and travel on it every day, and it’s part of what is really at the heart of Vision Zero.”

“Part of what we’re doing here is making sure that no one dies,” Van Bramer added. “We want to be proactive and protect people before any more serious injuries or deaths occur.”

The efforts on Northern Boulevard started about a year ago and will ultimately span several miles from Broadway to Honeywell Avenue over the next few years, and will include the installation of 14 other similar pedestrian islands, as well as more median extensions and other safety measures that are in the process of being implemented.

“Our board takes our responsibility to the community very seriously, and safety is the number one aspect,” said Community Board 1 District Manager Florence Koulouris, whose district borders the Boulevard on the northern side of the street. “DOT has come up with a plan that we believe will be a much better flow for everyone, and that all of the people of this district will be safe, drivers, pedestrians and bicycle riders.”

Following the implementation of the Vision Zero plan in 2014, the City saw three successive years of record-low traffic fatalities. Mayor Bill de Blasio announced in January that he would allocate an additional $400 million to Vision Zero, bringing the total investment in street safety up to $1.6 billion over the next five years.

“Changes like these change the fabric of our neighborhood,” said Transportation Alternatives activist Juan Restrepo, who recalled growing up in Astoria and struggling to cross four lanes of traffic on Northern Boulevard to visit the stores across the way. “We need to encourage our residents to visit our shops and to feel safe in doing so, and projects like these and the additional medians that are going to be implemented is only going to encourage that.”

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17 Comments

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Anonymous

You know whats bad, you talk about taxis, whats worse is spiteful homeowners who have parking spots or garage space and they put the car out on the street on the 2 alternate parking days just to screw some guy out of a parking space. Just spiteful. I watch this lady across the street from me do it every week when im waiting for a spot. I asked her one day why she does it, and she said she does not like the people looking for parking by her house. But besides mon and tue, the 2 alternate days, she puts her car back in the garage .witch!

Reply
sidesunny

i hate crossing Northern onto 48th, you get some real dickhead drivers who will still make the right turn if they have even a second of space before you get closer, only to just go sit at a red light. pricks

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Anonymous

Mac is dumb, shut up already. Always getting political, never has anything good to say, always bashing someone’s comments, just shut up already

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Run

Good point ,how about also making all taxis and uber like commercial vehicles and get them off the streets for overnight parking? On my block theres at least a dozen of them if not more. Black town cars, green/yellow cabs, all kinds of ubers. One house has 6 of them. Its nonsense, make them pay for a off street parking spot like trucks and work vans have to do.

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Fan of doughboy park

How about pulling over Taxi cab drivers and the thousands of car service drivers who totally ignore the rules? Blantedly, that would make us safe. Enforcing the law would be a good thing.

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Me

TLC must be paying a lot of money – ahem – making a lot of donations to PAL or something.

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Not mac or el loco or phil

They are concerned? If they were concerned it would have been done 10yrs ago. More like, we have several lawsuits ongoing because of this unsafe area.

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Eurozone

A ceremony for a pedestrian island? This concept should be a standard fixture of street design everywhere in the city.

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Mac

-Anonymous He’s got a weak minded puppet like you, doing exactly what he wants you to do, noticing him and speaking about him. hahaha Thank you for adding the Trump and Fox News stupidity to the comment stream.

Reply
Med

I was over there a few weeks ago.

What they NEED to do is make sure the crossing lights work and are facing where people are waiting to cross the street. The lines on the street aren’t helpful if you don’t have any idea when it is safe to cross.

It’s like playing Frogger trying to cross the streets.

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