By Bill Parry
In an effort to increase pedestrian safety on Northern Boulevard, the city Department of Transportation is planning to build five more pedestrian islands between 105th Street and 114th Street. The half-mile stretch of roadway is part of the Northern Boulevard Vision Zero Priority Corridor.
DOT statistics show that from 2010 to 2014 there were 249 total collisions along that section of roadwaythat caused injury and eight that caused severe injuries. Since 2010, there was one fatality at 105th Street.
The new islands will provide safer pedestrian crossings, create simpler and safer left turns from cross streets, while reducing the chances of collision between vehicles and pedestrians. . They will be constructed at the intersections of Northern Boulevard with 105th, 106th, 110th, 111th and 114th streets.
The project was requested by Community Board 3 and City Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras-Copeland (D-East Elmhurst). The DOT contends pedestrian islands have been shown to decrease pedestrian crashes by 46 percent and reduce vehicle crashes by 39 percent.
Meanwhile, the DOT is devising a plan which would change the traffic pattern on a congested block on 77th Street between 30th Avenue and 25th Avenue. The plan would require that the Q47 bus be rerouted.
“DOT and the MTA Bus Company conducted a joint feasibility study of converting 77th Street from 25th Avenue and 30th Avenue from a two-way operation into a one-way operation,” DOT Queens Borough Commissioner Nicole Garcia said. “The request emanated from the safety concerns and congestion due to the narrowness of 77th Street. Based on the results , both agencies are recommending that 77th Street be converted into a one-way northbound street for one block from 30th Avenue to 25th Avenue.”
Several elected officials and community members had complained for years that the street was too narrow for the amount of traffic, especially generated by buses.
In a presentation to Community Board 3 last month, the DOT said the northbound bus route would not change but the southbound bus would no longer turn down 77th Street. The southbound Q47 would take a left off of 25th Avenue onto 78th Street, where it will go one block, then turn west on 30th Avenue.
Then it would turn south on 77th Street and west on 31st Avenue and continue on its current route.
The plan would require the loss of parking spots on the eastern half of 80th Street between 25th and 24th avenues.
CB3 voted unanimously to approve the plan, which will be implemented in the summer.
Reach reporter Bill Parry by e-mail at bparr