The city’s Department of Transportation has announced plans to redesign Northern Boulevard in Queens to make it safer under the city’s Vision Zero plan. The street has seen six traffic fatalities in 2017 and four fatalities in 2018, thus far.
The first step that the DOT plans to take is a pilot that partners with the NYPD to enforce safety measures ahead of a series of community workshops that will be held to develop a redesign of the corridor. The seven-week enforcement program, called the High Visibility Enforcement program, will happen along the entire 11-mile stretch of Northern Boulevard, where street teams will “speak actively with drivers about Vision Zero priorities, including the importance of maintaining a safe speed and yielding to pedestrians.” The pilot will run through Thanksgiving.
As for the DOT’s design workshops, those will focus on expanding upon the safety enhancements that have already been brought to Northern Boulevard. The design workshops will be held on October 15 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Louis Armstrong Middle School, October 22 at P.S. 151 Mary D. Carter School from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m, and October 29 at P.S. 166 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.
Since 2014, the DOT has installed new crosswalks, Leading Pedestrian Intervals (LPI) to give pedestrians a head start at crosswalks, constructed safety islands, and made several other changes, but despite this, more needs to be done.
“Northern Boulevard is the new ‘Boulevard of Death’ in Queens,” said Queens Organizer for Transportation Alternatives, Juan Restrepo. “Instead of connecting its neighbors, it divides and frightens them, serving as a highway instead of a main street. We look forward to working together with the city to make Northern Boulevard a safe, attractive multi-modal corridor that puts people first.”