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Photo via Edward Wendell on Facebook
The scene of a fatal collision on Woodhaven Boulevard and Jamaica Avenue on Sept. 20.

Updated on Sept. 24 at 1:30 p.m.

In response to a deadly accident in Woodhaven on Sept. 20, one local lawmaker is calling for more safety improvements to one of the busiest intersections in the area.

Assemblyman Mike Miller released a statement hours after a pedestrian was struck and killed while crossing Woodhaven Boulevard along Jamaica Avenue, calling for the Department of Transportation (DOT) to make significant changes. According to police, the female victim in her 60s was walking in the crosswalk against the signal at approximately 5:50 a.m. when an SUV traveling south on Woodhaven Boulevard struck her.

“My prayers go out to the loved ones of the woman who died today at the intersection of Woodhaven and Jamaica Avenue,” Miller said in the statement. “Since the implementation of SBS, pedestrian safety has diminished and there has been an increase in accidents and fatalities along the Woodhaven Boulevard corridor.”

Miller specifically called for the DOT to implement “dedicated crossing time” for pedestrians at congested intersections. This would mean pedestrians could cross an intersection in all four directions while traffic is completely stopped for a certain amount of time.

In addition, Miller would like to see better lighting underneath elevated train lines, such as the J train over the Woodhaven Boulevard and Jamaica Avenue intersection.

“Currently, it is too dark and better visibility will help both pedestrians and drivers become aware of each other,” Miller said.

The assemblyman also called out the infamous Select Bus Service, which many people have taken issue to since its implementation on Woodhaven Boulevard in 2017. According to Miller, the bus lanes are causing additional backup, blocked intersections and delays on the boulevard, making it difficult for drivers and pedestrians to travel.

To Miller’s point, the most recent DOT vehicle collision statistics available for August 2018 show there were eight collisions at the intersection of Woodhaven Boulevard and Jamaica Avenue alone, resulting in four injuries and one pedestrian fatality.

“Apparently, SBS has some bearings of the increased accidents and therefore, I am calling on DOT to come to the area for greater education for drivers and pedestrians,” Miller said. “Greater education for pedestrians and drivers will help alleviate future fatalities.”

On Sept. 22, a spokesperson from the DOT reached out to QNS to provide a statement on the troubled intersection.

“All of the safety enhancements have been implemented at Woodhaven Boulevard and Jamaica Avenue, an intersection that has historically been one of the worst in the city when it comes to the number of crashes and the number of traffic deaths and serious injuries,” the spokesperson said. “Safety enhancements at this location include new ADA-compliant pedestrian and bus islands added, re-aligned left turns, and additional overhead lighting. Additional safety improvements elsewhere on the corridor are still ongoing.”

In addition, the spokesperson said that the department installed a Leading Pedestrian Interval to the intersection on Sept. 22, giving pedestrians a seven-second head start when crossing Woodhaven Boulevard at Jamaica Avenue before drivers get the green light.

The spokesperson added that DOT is currently aiming to install a new traffic signal and pedestrian crossing at Woodhaven Boulevard and 88th Avenue this year.

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