DOT must improve crosswalk safety at Union Tnpk. & Springfield Blvd.

An open letter to city Department of Transportation Queens Commissioner Maura McCarthy:

On April 1, we met with state Assemblyman David Weprin (D-Little Neck), Community Board 11 District Manager Susan Seinfeld, Hollis Civic Association President Zion Halili and local businessman Patrick Chen to discuss how to work together to prevent another tragedy like the one that killed Chen’s employee, Connie Sui, along with her unborn child, at the intersection of Union Turnpike and Springfield Boulevard as well as other accidents.

Sui was struck by a car as she was crossing the southeast corner to the northeast corner of Union Turnpike. She was out to pick up a container of milk from the grocery store across the street.

The first problem seems to be the inadequate interval timings allowed for pedestrians to cross the large intersection. Chen and I measured the pedestrian crosswalk and timed the intervals from north to south and from east to west and found that the north-to-south crossing is 77 feet from point to point and gives pedestrians 25 seconds to cross.

In comparison, the east-to-west crossing is 55 feet from point to point and gives pedestrians 32 seconds to cross, therefore allowing more time to cover a shorter distance. We believe increasing the interval for the north-to-south crossing for pedestrians would help increase their safety.

The second major problem at the intersection of Union Turnpike and Springfield Boulevard is the sun and building shadows, especially in the early morning, which obstruct the vision of motorists traveling southbound on Springfield Boulevard, preventing them from clearly seeing traffic lights.

Currently the traffic light does not extend to the middle of the intersection. We believe the solution here is to move the traffic lights further into the center of the roadway so motorists may see them regardless of the environmental lighting conditions.

There are other problems at this intersection for which we have suggestions and solutions that would improve public safety at this intersection. Where pedestrians stand the divider is only 2 feet wide and there is not enough room for pedestrians, primarily children and seniors, to stand if caught crossing the street when the light changes.

The divider does not go up to the crosswalk and is in need of repair. We need left turn signals on all four corners, zebra strips on pavement for driver visibility and the bus stops moved away from the intersections.

In the past five years there have been 103 accidents at this intersection, some severe and some fatal as reported by the 111th Precinct in its Motor Vehicle Accident Report. We are sure you would agree this is a serious situation and the loss of one life is one too many.

We look forward to working with you on this pressing matter.

George McCorkell

People for Traffic Safety at Springfield Blvd/Union Turnpike

Oakland Gardens

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