With help from a bill introduced by City Councilmember Melinda Katz, 78th Avenue between Queens Boulevard and Kew Forest Lane has been renamed in memory of two women who lost their lives at the intersection three years ago.
The street, renamed “Sharon Michele Rivers & Caprice Antoinette Bush Way,” was commemorated during a ceremony on Tuesday, July 10 - exactly three years after the tragedy occurred.
The two women, who worked together at JP Morgan Chase, were returning from lunch when Valeri Frumkin passed out behind his Subaru Forrester and ran a red light while traveling south on 78th Avenue. A 2003 BMW SUV on Queens Boulevard collided with the Forrester and went flying into the median, landing on top of Rivers and Bush.
Bush, who was 23-years-old at the time, died instantly. Rivers, who was 34, died the next day at Jamaica Hospital.
After the death of her daughter, Sharon Bush became an activist, working to make sure that no one else becomes a victim of the infamous “Boulevard of Death.” She explained that, “no one should have to lose a child this way.
“This is not just about my child,” she said. “This is about everyone, because whether you realize it or not, we are all affected when something like this occurs.”
Bush is also fighting to reclassify Queens Boulevard as a thruway and to reengineer the boulevard to make it safer for pedestrians.
“This boulevard has several lanes of traffic feeding into it,” she wrote in a letter to Senator Charles Schumer. “This traffic makes its way to the 59th Street Bridge. This makes it a THRUWAY.”
“Statistically, no one knows the real number of deaths this boulevard has claimed. Personally, I can tell you, it can happen in the most unexpected way.”
Editor’s Note: Transportation Alternatives Magazine reports that more than 80 pedestrians have been killed on Queens Boulevard since 1994.