Editorial: Hurry up with Woodhaven Boulevard fix

A recent accident on Woodhaven Boulevard in Glendale involving a school bus.
Photo via Twitter/@104COP

There was another deadly accident on Woodhaven Boulevard this weekend, and it again pointed out that the road needs to be completely reorganized.

A motorcyclist died on the morning of Oct. 17 when he was hit by a turning vehicle at the corner of Woodhaven Boulevard and Union Turnpike in Glendale. It’s just the latest death on a roadway that has seen eight fatalities and 1,200 people injured in accidents over a 2 1/2-year period, according to Department of Transportation statistics.

Woodhaven Boulevard is quickly supplanting Queens Boulevard as the most dangerous roadway in Queens. Improvements are being made on Queens Boulevard, which has the reputation for being the “boulevard of death,” to make it safer for drivers, bicyclists and pedestrians. Similar improvements on Woodhaven Boulevard are happening — the most recent being a bus-only lane between Eliot and Metropolitan avenues — but so much more needs to be done.

One transit advocacy group continues to press the city to introduce Select Bus Service (SBS), an intensified form of limited bus service, to Woodhaven and Cross Bay boulevards. They claim SBS will play a significant role in making the entire corridor safer for all who use it. That alone, however, isn’t enough to remedy the problem.

The entire configuration of Woodhaven Boulevard is a driver’s nightmare, with lanes merging and dividing every which way, obstructive medians, a lack of appropriate turning lanes and terrible sightlines at some intersections. This all leads to congestion, confusion and plenty of accidents.

Repainting lanes or creating margins between parking and travel lanes isn’t going to cut it. Building an SBS system and calling it a day won’t fix the problem either. The city must get moving on a major capital project on Woodhaven Boulevard to streamline traffic, install turning lanes and bring in other safety improvements.

Queens drivers and pedestrians can’t wait any longer.

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