A local politician and a school principal are calling on the Department of Transportation (DOT) to ensure the safety of pedestrians, especially school children, who cross a “dangerous” intersection.
In March, Senator Jose Peralta urged DOT to take a closer look at the intersection of Junction Boulevard and the Horace Harding Expressway in Elmhurst. The 110th and 112th Precincts had advised him neither would provide a crossing guard. A guard used to monitor the intersection.
“This is a very dangerous intersection for students and it is imperative that we have proper supervision at this corner,” P.S. 206 Principal Joan Thomas wrote in a request to bring back a school crossing guard. “I am very concerned about the safety of my children.”
P.S. 206, located at 61-02 98th Street, is near the heavily trafficked area. Students cross the intersection on their way between home and school every day.
“Every neighborhood needs safe streets to thrive,” said Paul Steely White, executive director of the advocacy group Transportation Alternatives. “That’s why Junction Boulevard and Horace Harding Expressway in Queens need to be made safe for local children, families and seniors.”
According to DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan, the School Safety Engineering Office surveyed the area near P.S. 206 and found that all the signs and marking were in place and in fair conditions. Khan added that the DOT has asked its Signals Unit to consider installing Leading Pedestrian Intervals (LPI). LPIs give pedestrians time to begin crossing the street before the light turns green for drivers.
“Leading Pedestrian Intervals would be very helpful, and I hope the DOT can put them in place very soon,” Peralta said.
The senator is also calling for a speed camera.
“In the interim, I’m going to keep pushing in the Senate to allow the city to start installing speed cameras,” said Peralta, who is sponsoring a bill to that effect. “But that all said, we shouldn’t lose sight of the fact that there’s no substitute for a crossing guard to ensure the safety of school children at a dangerous intersection like this one.”
As of press time, DOT did not respond to numerous calls and emails requesting traffic stats for the intersection. Crashstat.org noted one fatality there in 2006.