Months after 16-year-old Tenzin Drudak was struck and killed near LaGuardia Community College, the Department of Transportation (DOT) has answered students and residents’ pleas for safety enhancements.
Drudak, a student at the Applied Communications High School inside the community college’s building, died after being struck by a minivan that lost control and mounted the sidewalk at the intersection of Thomson Avenue and 30th Street in Long Island City. Four of five other pedestrians hit in the same incident were students at LaGuardia.
After Drudak’s death, residents, Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer, Community Board 2 and LaGuardia Community College officials called on the DOT to enhance pedestrian safety at the intersection.
“No New Yorker should feel their life is in jeopardy when they are walking along the sidewalks of our City streets” said Van Bramer.
Since April, the DOT has implemented short-term improvements including adjusting the timing of signals near the intersection and installing pedestrian countdown signals at Thomson and Skillman Avenues, 30th Street, 30th Place, 31st Street and 31st Place. The agency has also added signs and improved markings at Thomson Avenue and Van Dam Street.
In the latest changes, the DOT said it has redesigned Thomson and Skillman Avenues by closing the slip ramp and making it illegal for vehicles to makes left turns from Thomson Avenue onto Skillman Avenue.
The department added it has installed new signs and plastic markers to limit left turns from Thomson Avenue to 30th Street.
There is also a brand new 550-square-foot pedestrian space at the intersection of 30th Street and Thomson Avenue. It is bordered by stone blocks, plastic markings and six planters.
According to the DOT, all the changes were aimed at improving safety for the large volume of students and residents that walk through the intersection daily.