By Sadef Ali Kully
City and state leaders were joined by dozens of members of the Jamaica Muslim Center and residents to unveil the conversion of 168th Street to a one-way street from Hillside Avenue to Gothic Drive, which was completed April 10.
“Mayor Bill de Blasio, through his Vision Zero initiatives, has gone to great lengths to improve the safety of New York City streets, and the DOT has commendably taken swift action on this critical matter,” said David Weprin (D-Fresh Meadows). “With this completed conversion of 168th Street, the entire surrounding residents, including the worshipers at the JMC, and the students and parents of the Jamaica and Thomas Edison high schools will now be able to safely travel along this densely utilized street with some sense of peace.”
The street is located near Jamaica Educational Campus, which houses four different high schools, and Thomas Edison High School, the section between Highland Avenue. and Gothic Drive, has been a public danger due to the dense pedestrian usage coupled with a high flow of two-way traffic, according to the assemblyman.
“The new one-way street on 168th Street is a great sign of our city’s commitment to making our streets safer,” said City Councilman Rory Lancman (D-Hillcrest). “I want to thank the DOT for listening to the concerns of the Jamaica Hills neighborhood and transforming a dangerous street into one that will keep local residents safe and meet the community’s needs.”
Last year, a 16-year-old boy from the Jamaica Muslim Center who was struck by a speeding vehicle and suffered serious injuries is still in recoverytoday. Since the accident, lawmakers have aggressively pushed for a one-way street, which required Department of Transportation study and approval before beginning any construction.
“Our sincere thoughts and prayers are still with the young member of our center, who was seriously injured last year on this exact road,” said Dr. Wahedhur Rahman, president of the center.
A representative from the DOT also mentioned that the additional proposal for speed bumps had been approved and a construction date would be scheduled soon.
“After working hard, we have finally succeeded in converting the two-way 168th street in front of the JMC to a one-way one. This will make our neighborhood, especially the pedestrians, much safer,” said Mazeda Uddin, chair of the Alliance of South Asian Alliance Labor.
Jamaica Center General Secretary Akhter Hussain and residents also rejoiced in the conversion.
It took the DOT almost a full year to conclude its’ traffic study, approve the proposal, and complete construction for the one way street.
Reach Reporter Sadef Ali Kully by e-mail at skull