A two-mile-long Astoria thoroughfare that has seen five fatalities and seven severe injuries between 2009 and 2013 has just gotten safer for pedestrians.
Representatives from the city’s Department of Transportation (DOT) joined local elected officials and residents Friday morning to unveil corridor safety improvements for 21st Street between Hoyt Avenue South and Queens Plaza.
“We launched Mayor de Blasio’s Vision Zero initiative in Queens over a year ago and every day we see the difference these safety project have throughout the ‘World’s Borough,’ from 21st Street to Queens Boulevard and beyond,” said DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg.
The Astoria corridor, which is also a truck route, is made of a 60-foot-wide road with two travel lanes in each direction.
The safety improvements, which are part of the city’s Vision Zero initiative, include adding a new pedestrian crossing at 29th Avenue through a new traffic signal; upgrading existing street lights to LED lights and adding more street lights on 21st Street to improve visibility; adding parking lane stripes along the street to define moving lines; and adding 12 painted curb extensions along the corridor to shorten the crossing distance for pedestrians at nine intersections.
“For far too long, 21st Street has been known as a deadly speedway and the improvements we are introducing will help put an end to the reckless driving that has claimed too many lives,” Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer said.
Earlier this year, DOT also installed seven-second Leading Pedestrian Intervals (LPIs), which give pedestrian-only walk time before vehicles get a green light, at 10 intersections on 21st Street.
“This thoroughfare has long been notorious for pedestrian fatalities. Cars frequently travel above the speed limit and there have been several deaths due to car accidents on the street over the last decade,” said Councilman Costa Constantinides. “These Vision Zero improvements will make the street, home to major senior and youth developments, safer for pedestrians and drivers from across the community.”