Lawmakers’ pleas to ease traffic on Beach 9th Street were finally answered this week when the city agreed to install traffic signals over the next two months, officials said.
State Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder (D-Far Rockaway) teamed up with City Councilman Donovan Richards (D-Laurelton) earlier this year with hopes of persuading the Transportation Department to put more traffic signals along Beach 9th Street and Roosevelt Court. The city got back to them this week with a commitment to fulfill those wishes by Sept. 30, the elected officials said.
“I am proud to announce the Department of Transportation has listened to the concerns of our community and decided to take the necessary corrective actions,” Goldfeder said. “Installing traffic control devices at this dangerous intersection will deter drivers from using this stretch of road as a personal speedway, better protect our families and keep our streets safe.”
Goldfeder said residents throughout his southern Queens Assembly district have been calling in complaints with the DOT and 311 about the need for traffic calming measures along the roadways to slow down speeding vehicles. Beach 9th Street and Roosevelt Court were quickly becoming hotbeds of hazard, where pedestrians were put at risk, he said.
Richards said the new traffic signals being installed on the roadways will serve as a safety precaution for the families living around them.
“The behavior of motorists at the intersection at Beach 9th and Roosevelt Court continues to pose great danger to pedestrians,” Richards said. “I applaud the Department of Transportation’s effort to install new lights and promote safety for drivers and those traveling on foot. I am positive this is the right measure to slow down drivers and improve residents’ safety.”
Dalila Hall, Queens borough commissioner with the DOT, heeded the lawmaker’s pleas earlier this month with a letter showing the city’s commitment to reforming the roadways after a comprehensive study concluded traffic control was needed. Installation was tentatively scheduled to be finished by Sept. 30, Hall said.
Jonathan Gaska, district manager of Community Board 14, said residents on the board and throughout the Rockaway community have been begging for something to change along Beach 9th and Roosevelt Court for years because of speeding cars and dangerous pedestrian paths.
“This has been a dangerous location for years and we are pleased that it has finally been addressed,” he said.
City lawmakers have been honing in on traffic safety upgrades throughout the city since Mayor Bill de Blasio rolled out his Vision Zero initiative at the beginning of this year with hopes of curbing traffic related fatalities to zero over 10 years. De Blasio most recently signed a package of 11 different traffic bills into law late last month, which paved the way for the city to reduce default speed limits from 30 to 25 miles per hour among other upgrades.
“We have promised the people of this city that we will use every tool we have to make streets safer,” de Blasio said after signing the bills. “Today is another step on our path to fulfilling that promise, and sparing more families the pain of losing a son, a daughter, or a parent in a senseless tragedy.”
By Phil Corso