Councilman Costa Constantinides has secured funding to make safety improvements running from a stretch of Astoria Boulevard that has proven particularly dangerous.
Early on in his tenure as councilman, Constantinides targeted stretch running from 80th Street to 90th Place after several fatal accidents transpired there.
“It really functions more like a highway than a street, particularly in that neck of the woods,” Constantinides said.
The width of the six-lane road encourages cars to persistently speed through the area. Constantinides’ $300,000 endowment will go to street improvements including median work, sidewalk extensions, a new left turn bay for all vehicles and a new crosswalk.
While the councilman held a workshop on this issue with DOT in 2015, the changes that came out of those discussions were focused on parking times and other soft forms of road calming. In 2016, a van struck and killed a toddler on Astoria Boulevard and 92nd Street as the mother fixed her stroller.
The accident underscored the demand for concrete infrastructure work in the area. Constantinides’ office will provide funding for the Department of Transportation to implement. He says the safety infrastructure is the first step in his what feel needs to be a conversation around the redesign of the Astoria Boulevard to make it safer for pedestrians and cyclists.
“If you live on one side of the Astoria Boulevard, and you want to get a quart of milk on the other side, [it] shouldn’t be a dangerous endeavor,” said Constantinides.
The end goal, he says, is to enable the street to function like part of a neighborhood rather than a traffic corridor for cars to get from one end of Queens to the other. With that broader goal, this is just the first step.
“It’s as a strong down payment to get things done on Astoria Boulevard,” Constantinides said.