DOT takes action at fatal crossroads

An open letter to state Sen. Frank Padavan:

Please accept my apologies for this delayed response to your July 13, 2006, and May 22, 2007, letters concerning the northbound Cross Island Parkway at the intersection with the southbound Whitestone Expressway.

Following the accident at this location, where Eric Arsenault lost his life, we conducted a number of field investigations. As a result, the following improvements were made:

• replacement of graffiti-laden signs

• installation of 25 mph curve warning signs in advance of the curve

• installation of additional reflective chevron signs (arrows)

• repair of all lighting at the location

• increased frequency of grass cutting at the location from three to four times per year

In addition, prior to the accident we started with the assistance of the city Parks Department a tree-pruning initiative across the entire length of the Cross Island Parkway. As part of that effort, this location will be addressed.

After we were informed of the May 18, 2007, rally to support additional improvements for this area, we confirmed that three lights were inoperative and they were repaired that evening. Please note, however, that our contractor patrols this highway at a minimum of once a month. The contractor also responds to outage requests as they are received. Repairs are made as necessary.

The guardrail in place on this section of the highway is a standard installation and in use in many places throughout the city and state. We have forwarded a request for a concrete or other alternative barrier to the state Department of Transportation. It is evaluating that request now and I will get back to you once it has completed its analysis.

I hope this information is helpful. Please know we share your concerns for safety.

Maura McCarthy

Queens Commissioner

City Department of Transportation

Long Island City

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