MacDonald Park in Forest Hills received some much-needed safety and access improvements thanks to the efforts of local politicians.
City Department of Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg and Queens Borough President Melinda Katz announced Tuesday that the DOT had completed pedestrian improvements near the park in response to a request from Katz and other area politicians.
The improvements included installing enhanced crosswalks with ADA-compliant pedestrian ramps in front of the Forest Hills Jewish Center on Queens Boulevard Service Road, as well as “daylighting” the approaches to the new crosswalks (i.e. keeping street corners free of parked cars) to improve pedestrian and motorist visibility.
MacDonald Park has a number of pedestrian crossings due to its proximity to the Forest Hills Post Office, the Forest Hills Jewish Center and a number of transit access points, including the Forest Hills-71st Avenue subway station and bus stops for the Q60 and Q64 along Queens Boulevard. In the past five years, there have been four pedestrian injuries at this intersection.
Katz emphasized the importance of these improvements to the Vision Zero initiative to reduce pedestrian injuries and fatalities, especially at this “increasingly busy intersection of the neighborhood.”
Along with improving safety, Parks Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver sees the efforts as important to increasing access to green spaces such as MacDonald Park, which are otherwise scarce in the city.
Queens Boulevard is a DOT Priority Corridor and a Vision Zero Great Street, and has recently seen many safety improvements, including the installation of a protected bike lane, improved pedestrian crossings from Roosevelt Avenue to 73rd Street, and pedestrian improvements at Yellowstone Boulevard last year.
The DOT has already begun planning and outreach for redesigning another portion of this corridor, from 73rd Street to Eliot Avenue, slated for implementation later this year.