By Gina Martinez
Francis Lewis Park is now safer for pedestrians. At the request of City Councilman Paul Vallone (D-Bayside) the city Department of Transportation implemented its pedestrian safety project along 3rd Avenue between Whitestone Expressway Service Road and 147th Street. Because of the width of the 3rd Avenue corridor speeding has been a huge concern for community members.
The improvements included visual narrowing of the 3rd Avenue roadway with 13-foot-wide parking lanes on the north and south sides of the street. DOT also enhanced pedestrian crossings with signs and pedestrian ramps that accommodate people with disabilities at the main entrance to Francis Lewis Park at the Whitestone Expressway Service Road. A concrete curb extension was also added at 3rd Avenue and 147th Street to normalize the curbline and add a pedestrian ramp as well.
“We are delighted to implement these pedestrian safety improvements along Francis Lewis Park in Whitestone as part of Mayor de Blasio’s Vision Zero initiative citywide,” Queens Borough Commissioner Nicole Garcia said. “Park users and pedestrians of all ages will benefit tremendously from the recently installed enhanced crossings and pedestrian ramps. We look forward to continuing the dialogue and collaboration with Council Member Paul Vallone and Queens residents about ways to improve street safety in the borough.”
Vallone’s representatives said the new safety measures were not a response to a specific accident.Whitestone residents had asked him to look into conditions because they thought there was no safe way for kids to get to the playground.
“The safety of our children, families and neighbors is always a priority,” Vallone said. “The enhancements installed by the DOT for Francis Lewis Park will go a long way towards improving the safety of everyone entering the park as well as reducing the speed of drivers coming down 3rd Avenue. Continuing to work with our civic organizations, community boards and the NYC DOT will be critical as we address traffic and pedestrian safety at popular locations throughout northeast Queens.”
Reach Gina Martinez by e-mail at gmart