Queens and Linden Boulevards to Get Vision Zero Treatment

Queens and Linden Boulevards to Get Vision Zero Treatment

According to the de Blasio administration, comprehensive Vision Zero planning initiatives are on the way for Queens Boulevard. Forum Photo by Michael V. Cusenza

According to the de Blasio administration, comprehensive Vision Zero planning initiatives are on the way for Queens Boulevard.
Forum Photo by Michael V. Cusenza


Hoping to build upon the transportation gains of 2014, Mayor Bill de Blasio last week announced that comprehensive Vision Zero planning initiatives were on the way for Queens and Linden boulevards.

In the first year of de Blasio’s plan to reduce Big Apple traffic deaths to zero, pedestrian fatalities fell to 134, the lowest level since 1910, and overall traffic fatalities were down by 15 percent from 2013.

De Blasio attributed part of the success to the city Department of Transportation’s completion of more than 50 street design projects that addressed crash-prone roadways.

Queens Boulevard, many years ago notoriously dubbed “The Boulevard of Death,” was one of the targeted thoroughfares. DOT reduced the speed limit on the length of the span to 25 miles per hour; and at the intersection of Yellowstone and Queens boulevards, a median was extended and all left turns onto Queens Boulevard from Yellowstone have been banned.

According to a DOT spokesman, these changes are part of safety improvements on the wide and dense boulevard that the agency has implemented over the past decade, including redesigning roads and sidewalks, installing traffic control signs and signals, and improving crosswalks and roadway geometry, which the spokesman noted has brought a dramatic decrease in pedestrian injuries and fatalities.

Additionally, a safety workshop was scheduled for the evening of Wednesday, Jan. 21, at PS 11 in Woodside, during which residents would be able to share thoughts on how to further improve the boulevard.

“The mayor made it clear that improving Queens Boulevard is a priority and so Wednesday night NYCDOT will host a safety workshop to hear the community’s concerns and ideas,” DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg told The Forum. “That workshop is only the first step in a more comprehensive process to re-imagine and redesign the boulevard as a safer, greener, more attractive corridor for residents and businesses.”

While the DOT indicated that the specific focus of Wednesday’s workshop would be the western end of the boulevard from Roosevelt Avenue to 73rd Street—a stretch which saw six total fatalities since 2009—the department we wants to hear all concerns.

“These streets are now safer by design. We are putting every tool we have—engineering, enforcement and education—to use in reaching Vision Zero,” de Blasio said. “This is about more than numbers. Vision Zero means parents can more safely cross the streets with their children, and seniors can walk their neighborhoods more easily. We’re approaching this second year of work with proof these methods work and expanding them to even more neighborhoods.”

For the first part of 2015, de Blasio said, in addition to launching a comprehensive community planning process for Queens and Linden boulevards to develop redesigns that dramatically reduce crashes along their entire length, his administration is set to release the borough-specific Pedestrian Safety Action Plans that were born out of similar public workshops. These plans, which will be available in February, use crash data to provide a roadmap for future safety enhancements, and will lead to state of the art corridor and intersection improvements in at least 50 additional locations each year. Among the first projects underway in the new year is a“dramatic” intersection redesign at Hillside Avenue and Metropolitan Avenue.

By Michael V. Cusenza


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