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Photos by Suzanne Monteverdi/QNS
Photos by Suzanne Monteverdi/QNS
Two cars trying to make left turns at the intersection of 26th Avenue and Francis Lewis Boulevard.

A three-year request for left turn signals at an active Flushing intersection has ended in rejection, according to a local lawmaker.

State Senator Tony Avella came to the intersection of 26th Avenue and Francis Lewis Boulevard on April 17 to denounce the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) recent decision to deny the request for left turn signals at the location. Avella, speaking on behalf of concerned constituents, asked for the signals along Francis Lewis Boulevard in both directions.

“The only way you could make the left, you almost have to go through the red light,” Avella said. “Traffic builds up to such an extent, you’ll see, all of a sudden there’ll be a huge amount of cars … And that’s a dangerous situation.”

The clogged left turn lanes on both sides cause visibility issues for drivers and make it difficult for pedestrians to cross safely, he continued.

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Avella questioned whether the DOT conducted their traffic analysis during the slower hours of late morning or during the morning or evening rush, when there is a clearer need for the left turn signals. The state senator also criticized Vision Zero, a program implemented by Mayor Bill de Blasio in 2014 intended to help end traffic deaths and injuries by increasing traffic enforcement, improving street designs and other set measures.

“I don’t understand the logic here, the unwillingness to make a location safer,” Avella said. “Improving safety: isn’t that what Vision Zero is supposed to be about? … It’s just one more example of the fact that the mayor’s Vision Zero program doesn’t really work unless you start addressing the request for traffic controls.”

A DOT spokesperson said that while the agency did not approve the left turn signal, other safety improvements are currently under consideration.

“DOT has studied this intersection and found the location did not meet the warrants for a left turn signal,” the spokesperson said. “We are, however, considering a host of other safety improvements, and plan to be in touch with the local community to discuss.”

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