Dangerous intersections on Northern Blvd. in Astoria and Woodside will get pedestrian safety islands

Photo courtesy of DOT

The Department of Transportation will work to make certain intersections on Northern Boulevard in Queens safer by making it easier for pedestrians to cross the street.

The city agency presented a plan on Tuesday, which Community Board 1 approved, to construct 14 pedestrian safety islands, ban certain left turns and make other changes from Honeywell Street to Broadway. The 1.3-mile stretch of roadway hits Astoria and Woodside.

From 2010 to 2014, 22 people have been killed or severely injured along the corridor, making it a Vision Zero priority for Mayor Bill de Blasio. According to DOT data, 43 pedestrians, 21 bicyclists and 265 motor vehicle occupants have been injured in the five-year span.

An 8-year-old Woodside boy was killed on his way to school in December 2013 when a truck driver, who was operating his vehicle on a suspended license, hit him at the intersection of 61st Street and Northern Boulevard.

In February 2014, four pedestrians, including a 7-year-old girl, were struck in a hit-and-run at a bus stop on Northern Boulevard and 48th Street. Several elected officials have called on Mayor Bill de Blasio to include the roadway in his Vision Zero plan.

Watchdog organization Tri-State Transportation Campaign named Northern Boulevard the 14th most dangerous roadway in downstate New York in 2014.

The 14 pedestrian safety islands will be spread along intersections of Northern Boulevard and 39th Avenue, 37th Street, 50th Street, Broadway and more. The 10-foot buffers between northbound and southbound lanes will become 8-foot islands.

Along with the islands, left turns will be banned at 39th and 36th avenues and 37th Street. One block of 37th Street will be turned into a one-way street at the Northern Boulevard intersection.

The northbound 48th Street and southbound 49th Street will be reversed, and one block of 49th Street between Broadway and Newtown Road will become a two-way street. In addition, westbound right turns will be banned at Steinway Street.

A combination of expanded triangles and curb extensions will also heighten safety at certain intersections such as 49th Street and Newtown Road, Newtown Road and Woodside Avenue and the intersections of Northern Boulevard and 48th Street and 37th Street.

The changes will begin in July and the full scope of the project will be completed in two years, the DOT said.