Concerned Astoria residents and civic leaders recently rallied together at the corner of 21st Avenue and 23rd Street to bring heightened awareness to what they believe is a dangerous intersection.
The rally, which took place on Saturday, December 5, came almost one month after the death of Konstantinos Stayropoulos, 65, who was killed crossing the street at that intersection.
“This death was unnecessary and avoidable. It is the result of irresponsible street design whose sole purpose is to encourage automobiles to go faster,” said Eddie Hernandez, Chair of the Transportation Alternatives Queens Volunteer Committee. “This wonderful, walkable community needs to be protected from the scourge of reckless drivers.”
Stayropoulos’ fatality was not the only accident to take place in the area. Several accidents have occurred in the past 18 months near the intersection, according to Democratic District leader Costa Constantinides.
“Eighteen different car accidents and four deaths since 2009,” Constantinides said.
Concerned residents have started a local petition and letter-writing campaign to further the goal of safer streets in the neighborhood. Constantinides also said that they are going to ask for a meeting with the city’s Department of Transportation (DOT), “and if the DOT still doesn’t do anything, we want a face-to-face response as to why nothing is being done with all of the information given to them.”
Residents say they are tired of hearing from the DOT that they need to do a traffic study to see if the area needs additional safety measures.
“As a resident of 21st Avenue and a mother I find it very disturbing that the DOT has failed to recognize the need for more attention to the increased traffic on 21st Avenue and speed at which it travels,” said Kimberly Lancial, a resident living near 21st Avenue. “Is it going to take another fatality to get their attention?”