By Rich Bockmann
City Councilmen Donovan Richards (D-Laurelton) and I. Daneek Miller (D-St. Albans) met on the border of their districts last week to tout the installation of new traffic lights as the kind of results the two members of the Progressive Caucus will deliver over the next few years.
“For a very long time this intersection has been a danger,” Richards said at the corner of Francis Lewis Boulevard and 121st Avenue in Cambria Heights Jan. 24, where the city Department of Transportation had installed a pair of traffic lights a week earlier. “Today this is a tremendous victory for our two districts, which cradle this intersection.”
For a stretch of about 20 blocks, 121st Avenue is a wide road “not only where you learn to drive, but where you learn to drag race,” Miller said.
The avenue used to be four lanes wide until the city removed one lane in each direction to curtail reckless driving. But the intersection with the equally well-traveled Francis Lewis Boulevard was governed only by a stop sign, making for a dangerous situation as cars turned onto 121st.
It was Miller’s predecessor, Leroy Comrie, who initially requested the light, but the new councilman and Richards said they worked together to see that the city followed through, and the two pledged to work together on a number of issues in the future, such as the flooding that plagues large swaths of southeast Queens.
“This is the way I envision my relationship with my new colleague when it comes to flooding … you know, we’re going to be working hand-in-hand on a lot of these issues,” Richards said.
Both councilmen belong to the Progressive bloc that backed Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito (D-Manhattan) and just a few days earlier they were appointed to their new committee assignments.
Richards, who won his seat in a special election nearly a year ago and was elected to his first full term in November, was named chairman of the Environmental Protection Committee.
Miller, the former president of the union representing Queens Metropolitan Transportation Authority bus drivers, was appointed to head the committee on civil service and labor.
Robert Glover, of the 125th Avenue Block Association, said the light was something that had been needed for a long time, and he looked forward to his elected officials delivering on their promises.
“It’s something that was in the works for years,” he said. “We have three more on the plate.”
Reach reporter Rich Bockmann by e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at 718-260-4574.