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Photos by Suzanne Monteverdi/QNS
Photos by Suzanne Monteverdi/QNS
Two cars attempt to make left turns at Francis Lewis Boulevard and 26th Avenue

An active Flushing may soon see some long-awaited safety changes.

The city’s Department of Transportation recently presented to Community Board 7’s Transportation Committee a proposal to bring a series of safety improvements, including a left turn signal, to the intersection of 26th Avenue, Francis Lewis Boulevard and 169th Street. The committee voted overwhelmingly in favor of the project.

“I feel as though that this is a plan that could work,” committee chair Nick Corrado said.

The intersection, which is located near Holy Cross High School, the Auburndale branch of the Queens Library and local storefronts, has been a topic of concern in recent years. In April 2017, state Senator Tony Avella held a press conference at the site after DOT denied a request for a left turn signal. Councilman Paul Vallone has also written on behalf of constituents to the city agency requesting safety changes.

Under the proposal, the city would increase the traffic light signal cycle at the site to 120 seconds, allowing for a left turn signal and an increased pedestrian crossing time. Pedestrian crosswalks would be painted and widened to allow for safer crossings.

Current pedestrian conditions at the site

Current pedestrian conditions at the site

The project would also close the two slips at 169th Street. In the process, two non-metered and metered spots within each slip would be lost, while six total metered spots would be added towards 169th Street.

DOT Queens Deputy Commissioner Al Silvestri told board members that local businesses were informed about the proposed changes and there was “a positive response.” If approved, the project would be implemented in the span of a few months.

According to DOT traffic history records, 46 percent of crashes at the site involved vehicles making a left turn. In the last five years, three pedestrians have sustained severe injuries at the intersection.

The proposal will go before the full board for approval in the coming months.

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