Pols, Flushing residents rally for safety at high traffic intersection

traffic rally
Photo courtesy of the office of Ron Kim

Elected officials and Flushing residents rallied on Tuesday for improved safety measures at a College Point Boulevard intersection after a recent fatal hit-and-run.

Mariano Contreras, 41, was found unconscious and unresponsive after being struck by a northbound black SUV early Sunday morning on College Point Boulevard and Roosevelt Avenue. The driver fled the scene and Contreras was pronounced dead at NewYork-Presbyterian/Queens Hospital.

The rally to highlight the safety problems of the intersection included Assemblyman Ron Kim, Councilman Peter Koo, state Senator Toby Ann Stavisky, state Senator Michael Gianaris, the Downtown Flushing Transit Hub Business Improvement District and civic safety group Make Queens Safer.

According to the mayor’s Vision Zero website, there have been 11 injuries caused by traffic in the high-density area as of Aug. 31.

Assemblyman Kim is calling for a pedestrian bridge over the intersection to improve the dangerous conditions. He said that with new condos and hotels coming to the region, more long-term solutions had to be found to deal with heavy traffic.

“The hit-and-run incident over the weekend is a horrible tragedy and wake-up call for all of us,” Kim said. “If you walk around the intersections of College Point and Roosevelt Avenue, you are constantly playing chicken with speeding vehicles.”

Councilman Koo said that the rapid growth of downtown Flushing must be balanced with improved safeguards against traffic accidents.

“The 109th Police Precinct and Related Companies have both worked to provide traffic safety agents during periods of high traffic at this intersection,” Koo said, “and it must be the responsibility of the City of New York to ensure future development does not turn this heavily traveled roadway into a safety hazard.”

Leola Wayne, president of the Bland Houses Tenant Association, cautioned both pedestrians and drivers in Flushing to stay vigilant when commuting and obey traffic laws.

“This young man could have been any of the senior citizens or families with young children from our community who cross this street every day,” Wayne said.