Four Queens lawmakers are calling on the city’s Department of Transportation (DOT) to install traffic signs on 69th Avenue in Forest Hills to prevent future incidents from occurring, following a head-on traffic collision between a bus and an SUV that occurred last month.
Rep. Grace Meng, Assemblyman Andrew Hevesi, state Sen. Joseph Addabbo Jr., and City Council Member Lynn Schulman along with Community Board 6 Chair Heather Dimitriadis and District Manager Frank Gulluscio sent a letter to DOT Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez requesting an investigation of 69th Avenue and to develop safer alternatives for the area.
“We respectfully request that the New York City Department of Transportation, which receives funding in part from the federal government, survey the area and install traffic controls that may include, but not be limited to four-way stop signs, crosswalks, and speed bumps along 69th Avenue between Burns St. and Metropolitan — controls that already exist on the corridor between P.S. 144 and Our Lady of Mercy,” the lawmakers said in the letter.
The lawmakers and CB6 are requesting that the DOT apply for the Safe Streets and Roads for All grant program that was established as part of the $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (H.R.3684) signed into law in Nov. 2021.
This new program provides $6 billion for projects that aim to reduce road deaths and serious injuries. The deadline to apply is Sept. 15.
The lawmakers said they want to ensure the well-being of commuters and pedestrians in their respective districts. They were contacted regarding an incident between a bus and an SUV that occurred between Fleet Street and Groton Street in the district on July 20.
The lawmakers, along with Dimitriadis and Gulluscio, noted that this was “particularly disturbing given the residential nature of the area, which is also home to numerous small businesses, many of which serve young students, and as the area lies within the vicinity of two local elementary schools.”
According to the lawmakers, the area also provides street parking to residents and visitors alike.
“Those who park in these neighborhoods should not have to worry about navigating around speeding vehicles when going on foot to their destinations,” the lawmakers said.
Upon receiving these inquiries, staff conducted an on-site visit to the location, and noted a general lack of traffic controls on 69th Avenue, as well as a blind curve where the road narrows on 69th Avenue and Dartmouth Street, creating additional hazards, especially with the Q23 bus line currently being routed along 69th Avenue.
“Our constituents in this area include seniors, young families, small business owners, school faculty and employees, and residents going about their daily lives and activities. It’s not a thruway – it’s a highly residential neighborhood and we need to make sure drivers treat it as such, and thank DOT for its consideration of this request,” the lawmakers said in a joint statement.