More traffic safety improvements are being installed along Astoria’s 21st Avenue in response to community concerns about the dangerous thoroughfare, which has been the scene of dozens of pedestrian injuries and a death.
Department of Transportation (DOT) Queens Commissioner Nicole Garcia announced on Friday the installation of traffic lights at the intersection of 21st Avenue and 23rd, 24th and Crescent streets. She was joined by Councilman Costa Constantinides, Assemblywoman Aravella Simotas and state Senators Michael Gianaris and Jose Peralta to notify Astoria residents of the improvements, which will be implemented in April.
In 2009, an Astoria resident ― 65-year-old Konstantinos Stayropoulos ― was killed in a car crash at the corner of 21st Avenue and 23rd Street. Following his death, a coalition of community members and elected officials held rallies to demand the DOT conduct traffic studies and take necessary steps to quell the speeding cars.
The DOT installed a speed bump at 21st Avenue and 26th Street in 2010 but the community wanted more. Currently, there are only two traffic lights ― at 21st and 28th streets ― along the thoroughfare and no stop signs between the East River and 31st Street, a distance of 2/3 of a mile.
P.S. 122, St. John’s Preparatory School, and Kid Krazy daycare center are all located along 21st Avenue and children cross it daily, making the improvements a necessity, according to Constantinides.
“We’ve come to know the street’s dangerous conditions all too well – dozens of injuries and a tragic death. Families have deserved better than the speeding and unsafe conditions that occur here every day,” Constantinides said. “These new traffic lights will help ensure the safety of children who cross this thoroughfare every day to get to school and all residents who wish to make a cross on 21st Avenue.”
Garcia noted that the speed limit along the avenue was lowered to 25 miles per hour, which will also encourage motorists to drive more carefully along the route.
“Safety is our number one priority and we are happy work with local partners to improve this community corridor,” Garcia said.