By Bill Parry
Queens Boulevard will have its speed limit reduced after all. The commissioner of the city Department of Transportation added the dangerous thoroughfare to a list of other roadways that were slowed to 25 mph from 30 mph as part of a citywide speed limit reduction that went into effect Nov. 7.
Queens Boulevard was not included because it was deemed a major artery designed to accommodate faster driving. But Polly Trottenberg, the commissioner, had a change of heart and announced that she anticipates that the speed limit will be reduced by the end of the year.
“Lowering Queens Boulevard’s speed limit to 25 mph will help save lives,” City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside) said. “For far too long, the Boulevard of Death has claimed the lives of too many innocent victims. Together along with increased enforcement by the NYPD and a reduction in the speed limit I believe we are taking a step in the right direction toward protecting the precious lives of our community’s seniors, schoolchildren and families.”
The boulevard cuts straight through the councilman’s district from Long Island City through Woodside. State Sen. Michael Gianaris (D-Astoria) said, “Queens Boulevard has been known as the Boulevard of Death for far too long, and our work towards Vision Zero would not be complete without addressing this street that has too often proven fatal. I’m glad DOT plans to make Queens Boulevard safer and I hope that with time this major street will come to be known for its pedestrian plazas and great restaurants rather than traffic fatalities.”
When U.S. Rep. Joseph Crowley (D-Jackson Heights) hosted a Vision Zero town hall in Astoria in March, he spoke of how he lost a friend on Queens Boulevard. Woodside resident Marion Kurshuk was struck and killed by a motorcycle while trying to cross the Boulevard at 58th Street just before Christmas 2013. He recalled how the 78-year-old woman was a volunteer who helped the homeless and the needy.
“Reducing the speed limit on Queens Boulevard will no doubt help save lives,” he said Monday. “For too long, this major thoroughfare has been one of the most dangerous corridors in our city. A great many of us have lost either a friend, family member or neighbor to the hazardous conditions on Queens Boulevard and I am pleased to see the DOT include it in its Vision Zero plan as they continue to work with our communities on the implementation of this much-needed initiative.”
Reach reporter Bill Parry by e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at (718) 260–4538.