Tag Archives: Department of Transportation

Street resurfacing slated for Community Board 5


| agiudice@ridgewoodtimes.com

RIDGEWOOD TIMES/Photos by Anthony Giudice

Updated Tuesday, Aug. 25, 4:25 p.m.

Street resurfacing may be coming to south Middle Village and other nearby areas, but the roadways are still in need of a complete and long overdue overhaul.

All of the streets, except for one, within the area south of Metropolitan Avenue, east of 73rd Place, north of Cooper Avenue and west of 80th Street are currently on the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) tentative priority list for repaving, but it has not yet been confirmed if they will be approved, according to Vincent Arcuri, chair of Community Board 5 (CB 5).

CB 5 has been trying to get a complete reconstruction of the area for the better part of two decades.

“We have been advocating to get these streets done for the last 20 years,” Arcuri said, “but we have had very little success. I can’t understand why. Middle Village is a hard-working, middle-class community that deserves this from the city.”

A full reconstruction of the streets would include replacing the underground sewer systems, a repaving of the streets, rebuilding curbs and walkways and more.

The DOT has offered to resurface the streets, a far cry from the full project CB 5 has been asking for. A resurfacing project would include the milling of the roadway — a process in which the top layer of asphalt is removed from the street — followed by the application of the new asphalt, with no work done to the underground utility lines.

“We are having mixed reactions about it,” Arcuri said of the DOT’s resurfacing plans. “Do we let the people suffer and wait to try and get a full reconstruction, or do we take the resurfacing which would postpone any other construction for at least five years?”


If the project is accepted by the DOT, it will begin in October or November, with a completion date near 2020, Arcuri said.

“The city has put together a plan to address these dangerous infrastructure flaws in south Middle Village. But when the city keeps delaying the ground breaking of such a plan, it is both unfair and negligent,” Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley said. “This project is a long time coming and is needed by hardworking taxpayers. Once complete, we will have a safer and more livable community in Middle Village.”

Along with these Middle Village streets, several others within the confines of CB 5 are on the DOT’s tentative resurfacing list.

That list includes the following:

  • 58th Place between Maspeth and Grand avenues in Maspeth;
  • Stanhope Street between Grandview and Seneca avenues in Ridgewood;
  • 63rd Street between 59th Drive and Flushing Avenue in Maspeth;
  • 83rd Street between Cooper and Doran avenues in Glendale;
  • Rutledge Avenue between Woodhaven Boulevard and 88th Street in Glendale;
  • Palmetto Street between Fairview and Forest avenues in Ridgewood;
  • And several more.

Once confirmed, all street resurfacings are scheduled to begin this October or November.

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BQE lane closures expected during cleaning, repainting of Woodside bridges


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Images via Google Maps

Drivers will face some lane closures on the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway starting later this week, as two Woodside bridges get a face-lift.

Starting on or about Aug. 21 the city’s Department of Transportation will begin the steel cleaning and surface repainting of the 69th Street and Woodside Avenue bridges which cross over the BQE.

The work, which is expected to be completed by Oct. 31, will take place during daytime and nighttime hours with both single- and two-lane closures in each direction on the highway. The times of the closures will be the same for both bridges.

Two-lane closures on the BQE are scheduled Tuesday through Friday from 12:01 to 5 a.m.; Saturday from 12:01 to 6 a.m.; and Sunday 1 to 8 a.m.

Single-lane closures will occur Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. to 5 a.m.; Friday through Saturday 11 p.m. to 6 a.m.; and Sunday 12:01 a.m. to noon.

69th Street bridge

The work on the bridges is weather-dependent and the schedule may change as necessary, according to the DOT.

For more information, visit www.facebook.com/bridgepainting.

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Massive community-made mural unveiled in LIC


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photos via Department of Transportation's Flickr

The commute to and from work, school and other daily activities for pedestrians and drivers in Long Island City just got more colorful — all with help from the community.

Queens artist Mark Salinas, who is the founder of the mural organization 7Train Murals, joined the Long Island City Partnership and the Department of Transportation on Wednesday to unveil the mural titled “Pedestrian Patterns” on the Thomson Avenue Bridge.

“The mural’s design is inspired by sneaker sole patterns and illustrates our daily commute from bright busy days to peaceful quiet evenings,” Salinas said. “The image begins bold and colorful and then transitions, with the rise and descent of the bridge’s architecture, into a quiet and camouflaged design.”

“Pedestrian Patterns” — which was part of the DOT’s Community Commission open call for art installations — was community-made with support from volunteers and local organizations such The Citizens Committee for New York City, LaGuardia Community College, International High School, Citi, the Falchi Building, Vanbarton Group, Re:Sources, and Janovic Paint and Decorating Centers.

“Thomson Avenue Bridge is a vital connector in Queens for thousands of daily commuter,” said Elizabeth Lusskin, president of the LIC Partnership. “With the addition of this beautiful new mural, we look forward to seeing it become a key point of interest in LIC.”

Going from 44th Drive to Skillman Avenue, the 6,000-square-foot piece is one of the largest community-made murals in the borough.

The mural, which was one of four new projects selected by the DOT, is made up of 25 colors plus one tinted background color on 33 panels.

“The beautification of vacant and vandalized public spaces improves the appearance of our neighborhood for local residents and visitors alike,” state Senator Michael Gianaris said. “The ‘Pedestrian Patterns Mural’ is an admirable addition to our community’s growing cultural fabric. I am pleased to see our community come together to make this area more lively.”


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More weekend closures scheduled for Jackie Robinson Parkway


| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Anthony Giudice

Get ready for another round of weekend shutdowns on the Jackie Robinson Parkway.

Portions of the eastbound section of the parkway between Pennsylvania Avenue and the Van Wyck Expressway will be closed as needed beginning tonight at 11 p.m. and continuing until 8 a.m. Saturday morning. Road closures will also occur each weeknight between Aug. 17 to 20 from 11 p.m. to 5:30 a.m. the following morning; and from 11 p.m. on Aug. 21 until 8 a.m. on Aug. 22.

According to the state Department of Transportation, the closure is required as work crews replace signs and guardrails and install mow strips on the roadbed.

The DOT is currently resurfacing the entire stretch of the 5-mile roadway between Kew Gardens and Brooklyn at a cost of $17 million. Work is being done in phases; crews will turn to the westbound lanes once resurfacing on the eastbound side is complete.

Drivers are advised to use the following designated eastbound detour routes through Cypress Hills, Woodhaven, Glendale, Forest Hills and Kew Gardens:

  • Jamaica Avenue from Pennsylvania Avenue to Forest Parkway;
  • Forest Parkway from Jamaica Avenue to Park Lane South;
  • Park Lane South from Forest Parkway to Metropolitan Avenue; and
  • Metropolitan Avenue from Park Lane South to the Jackie Robinson Parkway.

Visit the DOT’s website or call 511 for further details.

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Flushing civic group objects to permanent street closing for pedestrian plaza


| asuriel@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Alina Suriel

Updated Wednesday Aug. 5

A proposal to close off street traffic for a pedestrian plaza off Flushing‘s Northern Boulevard was met with opposition from neighborhood groups concerned that the change will worsen existing congestion and traffic problems.

The Korean American Association in Queens (KAAQ) is working to place a pedestrian plaza adjacent to a small park known as Leonard Square. The proposal will close off traffic at all times on Roosevelt Avenue between 155th Street and Northern Boulevard.

The plan was submitted to the DOT in the winter of 2014, and a public workshop was held on April 16 to solicit public feedback. A trial street closure on April 18 was deemed a success by the KAAQ after they received no resident complaints.

The overall contention against the project, however, comes from members of the Broadway Flushing Homeowners Association, which charged that it would worsen traffic congestion and cause safety concerns.

“We already have enough traffic and problems with too much congestion. [Closing] another street is only going to add to that and we need every artery,” said Janet McCreesh, a former president of the homeowners group.

McCreesh also asserted that there were more appropriate sites for community gathering spots nearby, such as Bowne Park, which is 0.4 mile away.

“How safe and clean will it be to encourage people to sit in between Northern Boulevard and one of the biggest and busiest parking lots in the neighborhood?” McCreesh asked.

Members of the association have voted to send another letter to Community Board 7, which may publicly discuss the issue as soon as Sept. 21.

Councilman Paul Vallone, a supporter who is working with the KAAQ on the project, recalled a similar plaza successfully established in Douglaston, and said that he expects the same benefits for the community around Leonard Square.

“Any group, such as the Korean-American Association of Queens, is able to apply to the city to maintain a pedestrian plaza with the goal of creating an open area for everyone to sit, rest, socialize and enjoy public space,” Vallone said. “I also believe this plaza will have a positive effect on safety and combat the clear history of traffic incidents at this very congested site.”

Paul Yoo, president of the KAAQ, believes the homeowners association objected to the proposal because they are misinformed on its potential effect on neighborhood parking and traffic. While around 8 to 10 spots of street parking would be lost if the street were blocked off, the KAAQ is working with the DOT to come up with alternative solutions to retain parking in the neighborhood.

 

IMG_0397

Yoo said that if the Broadway Flushing Homeowners Association had made an effort to reach out to the KAAQ, they could have collaborated to make compromises.

“They didn’t come to the workshop. They haven’t seen the work we’re doing,” said Yoo. “They didn’t contact us. They should come and talk to us.”

The next trial street closing of Roosevelt Avenue between 155th and Northern Boulevard is planned for Friday, Aug. 7, and will have festivities such as clowns, a bouncy castle, face-painting, balloons and stilt walkers to call attention to the initiative.

Editors note: An earlier version misidentified Janet McCreesh as the president of the Broadway Flushing Homeowners Association, and incorrectly listed the date of the Community Board 7 meeting in which this issue will be discussed. We apologize for any confusion.

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Department of Transportation finalizes work on 37th Avenue


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo via Twitter/@NYC_DOT

BY KIRSTEN E. PAULSON

The NYC Department of Transportation (DOT) announced this week that it had finished resurfacing critical portions of 37th Avenue from the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway to Junction Boulevard, providing a smoother, safer roadway for drivers.

Daytime traffic volumes made it difficult to close 37th Avenue without a major impact on the community. However, as the street is a critical commercial corridor to both residents and businesses that use it, the DOT made the decision to resurface it after consulting with Community Board 3 and elected officials.

“Investing in our streets and keeping them in a state of good repair has been a priority for the city,” said Nicole Garcia, DOT Queens borough commissioner. “The new, freshly paved 37th Avenue reflects that commitment, and provides more than 20 blocks of smoother, safer roadway that support local commerce and the residents and families who rely on these businesses for neighborhood errands, eating, shopping and other services.”

Once a street has been resurfaced, it becomes a protected street for five years, and no street opening permits will be issued except for emergency and maintenance work.

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First Queens Citi Bike station debuts in LIC


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Angy Altamirano

A longtime dream for Long Island City residents finally came true as Citi Bike made its grand entrance into the neighborhood and Queens for the first time.

Motivate, the company that operates Citi Bike, the Department of Transportation and local elected officials and leaders gathered Wednesday afternoon to cut the ribbon on the borough’s first-ever Citi Bike station located on Center Boulevard right on the waterfront.

This station, which is the first of 12 in Long Island City, is part of the Citi Bike expansion announced last October which is expected to double the size of the bike share network from 6,000 to 12,000 bikes throughout the city over the next two years.

“New Yorkers love Citi Bike. It has transformed the way we get around. It’s providing an alternative that doesn’t just move, but it moves and it changes at the pace of our city,” said Jay Walder, president and CEO of Motivate. “But now we will see the real potential of Citi Bike as it moves out to more communities and more New Yorkers can experience the freedom of bike share from Long Island City and Astoria, to Bed Stuy and Gowanus, Red Hook, Harlem and many other places.”

There will be 91 new stations installed by the end of the summer during the first phase of the expansion, which also includes stations in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Williamsburg and Greenpoint in Brooklyn.

Stations in Long Island City, which will be installed in the next couple of weeks, will be found in locations such as by the Vernon Blvd-Jackson Av subway station, in front of MoMa PS1, next to the LIC Flea & Food and by Queensboro Plaza. There will also be a station by the Queensbridge Houses.

“We never ever stopped believing that this could happen because it’s good for Queens and if it’s good for Queens its good for New York City,” Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer said. “This is a tremendous victory [not only] for Long Island City but for all of Queens. It is one that we never ever gave up on. This is a dream come true. This moment is a dream come true.”

Long Island City was supposed to be part of the Citi Bike’s initial phase, which debuted in 2013, but was pushed back after equipment damage from Superstorm Sandy caused a delay.

Once all stations are installed by the end of the summer, the DOT and Motivate will begin the community outreach and planning process for the next phase of expansion, which includes stations in Astoria.

“The inclusion of Long Island City was a long time coming but I am glad it has finally arrived. Bike share will allow people to enjoy our neighborhood in a healthy, fun way and facilitate easier travel around western Queens, an area in dire need of better mass transit,” state Senator Michael Gianaris said. “I am thrilled to see western Queens given the opportunity to enjoy the benefits of Citi Bike and look forward to its further expansion into more of our neighborhoods.”

Along with the expansion, Motivate has replaced the software that powers Citi Bike, replaced software and hardware at all exiting stations and docking points, and added 1,000 new and upgraded bikes to its fleet. An additional 1,400 bikes will be added this summer to stock up the new stations.

The bikes, which were developed in partnership with Olympic bike designer Ben Serotta, have new features, including higher-quality parts and upgraded seats.

To celebrate the program’s expansion, Citi Bike is offering a $25 discount, up until Aug. 31, to new members. For more information visit www.citibikenyc.com/expansion.

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Citi Bike rolling into LIC this August


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Cristabelle Tumola

The blue bikes will finally be making their way into the “World’s Borough.”

Motivate, the company that operates Citi Bike, and the Department of Transportation announced Friday that the Citi Bike expansion, which was announced last October, will begin in early August with new stations being installed in various neighborhoods, including Long Island City.

The first wave of stations is part of a larger expansion plan that is expected to double the size of the bike share network from 6,000 to 12,000 bikes throughout the city over the next two years.

“With over 19 million trips, it is clear that New Yorkers love Citi Bike and we are excited to see the network double in size, expanding to Queens, more of Brooklyn, and upper Manhattan,” DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg said.

There will be 91 new stations installed during this first phase of the expansion throughout Long Island City, Bedford-Stuyvesant, Williamsburg and Greenpoint.

Long Island City will get a total of 12 stations, including one by the Vernon Blvd-Jackson Av subway station, another in front of MoMa PS1, one next to the LIC Flea & Food and another right by Queensboro Plaza.

Map via citibikenyc.com

Map via citibikenyc.com

“The long-awaited arrival of Citi Bike in Long Island City is great news. Bike share will allow the people to enjoy our neighborhood in a healthy, fun way and facilitate easier travel around western Queens, an area in dire need of better mass transit,” state Senator Michael Gianaris said.

Long Island City was supposed to be part of the Citi Bike’s initial phase, which debuted in 2013, but was pushed back after equipment damage from Superstorm Sandy caused a delay.

Astoria is another Queens neighborhood slated for docking stations; however, those bikes will arrive at a later time.

“For years I have fought to bring Citi Bike to Queens and I’m proud to say that the blue bikes will be here soon,” Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer said. “Cycling in western Queens has become extremely popular and the addition of 12 new Citi Bike docking stations add a much-needed alternative mode of transportation to an area of the borough that is growing and vibrant, and in need of more transportation options.”

Along with the expansion, Motivate has also replaced the software that powers Citi Bike, replaced software and hardware at all exiting stations and docking points, and added 1,000 new and upgraded bikes to its fleet. An additional 1,400 bikes will be added this summer to stock up the new stations.

The bikes, which were developed in partnership with Olympic bike designer Ben Serotta, have new features, including higher-quality parts and upgraded seats.

Motivate is also working to provide discounted Citi Bike memberships to residents of affordable housing developments, and free access for group rides to community-based organizations.

For more information on the Citi Bike expansion, visit www.citibikenyc.com/expansion.

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$100M transformation to turn Queens Boulevard into ‘Boulevard of Life’ begins


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Angy Altamirano

For Lizi Rahman and all other family members who have lost loved ones on Queens Boulevard, their dream of putting an end to the “Boulevard of Death” is finally starting to become reality.

Rahman — whose 22-year-old son Asif was fatally struck while riding his bicycle home in 2008 — joined Mayor Bill de Blasio, Department of Transportation (DOT) representatives and local elected officials and community leaders on Thursday morning in Woodside to announce the beginning of the $100 million redesign of the busy thoroughfare which has claimed 185 lives since 1990.

“I decided to do everything in my power to get a bike lane on Queens Boulevard so that bicyclists would feel safe and no mother would go through this pain of losing a child,” Rahman said. “There were times when I was discouraged. I almost gave up but then I saw light at the end of the tunnel when Mayor de Blasio was elected. Now my dream is not a dream anymore; it became a reality.”

The first phase of the redesign project, which was unanimously approved by Community Board 2 last month, will focus on the 1.3-mile section of Queens Boulevard between Roosevelt Avenue and 73rd Street, an area which saw six deaths, 36 severe injuries and 591 more hurt in traffic accidents between 2009 and 2013.

“Here is a lesson if ever there was one, on the fact that we had to change things here on Queens Boulevard. We were losing too many good people, and we could avoid those losses. And finally, the actions are being taken to save lives here on Queens Boulevard that should’ve happened long ago,” de Blasio said on Thursday.

Lizi Rahman lost her son in 2008 after he was fatally struck by a truck on Queens Boulevard while riding his bicycle home.

Lizi Rahman lost her son in 2008 after he was fatally struck by a truck on Queens Boulevard while riding his bicycle home.

The redesign of the thoroughfare is expected to decrease drivers from switching repeatedly between the main line and service road. The overall plan will be to get rid of the “highway-like design features” which encourage drivers to speed.

The improvements on the stretch, which will be installed through October, include safer crossings installed along the corridor; pedestrian islands and new mid-block crossings constructed to give pedestrians more time to cross; and the addition of high-visibility crosswalks and new signals.

“We have an obligation to make sure that not one more person loses their life on this boulevard,” Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer said. “We will transform Queens Boulevard into that ‘Boulevard of Life.’ We will make it safer for everyone, pedestrians, cyclists and motorists, all living in harmony and in safety.”

The DOT will also add protected bike lanes with buffers and new pedestrian space along the median next to the service lane in both directions. A raised, concrete bicycle path will be constructed under the overpass on the eastbound service road from 67th to 69th streets.

The project will also include pedestrian ramps being upgraded to be ADA-complaint improving accessibility to those with disabilities, and service roads will be reduced to one moving lane in each direction.

The DOT plans to soon begin the phase of the redesign of Queens Boulevard from 73rd Street to Eliot Avenue, and after from Eliot Avenue to Jamaica Avenue.

“So for all the people who depend on this crucial road, life will change for the better. And we’re going to use every tool we have to continue that work — not just on Queens Boulevard, but all over the city,” de Blasio said.

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Road work leads to water service shutdown on Ridgewood blocks


| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com

Photo via Wikimedia Commons

Homeowners on six Ridgewood blocks will temporarily lose their water service on Tuesday, July 21, as work crews replace fire hydrants in the area.

According to the city Department of Design and Construction (DDC), the shutdown is scheduled to take place, weather permitting, beginning at about 8 a.m. Tuesday and will last for up to eight hours; service may be restored earlier in the day if the work is completed early.

The affected blocks include Onderdonk Avenue between Putnam and 70th avenues; and 69th and 70th avenues between Onderdonk and Forest avenues.

The fire hydrant replacement is part of the Department of Transportation’s Safe Routes to School Phase 1 project centering around traffic safety measures in the area of St. Matthias School, which is located at the corner of Woodward and Catalpa avenues.

The DDC advises homeowners on the affected blocks to shut off their water main valve prior to the scheduled service disruption. This measure will help avoid problems should sediment be released from a home’s plumbing.

All water-cooled appliances, such as air conditioners, should also be shut off for the duration of the disruption.

Once water service is restored, homeowners should turn the main water valve on, then run all faucets, sinks and tubs for a few minutes to flush out the system and release any sediment buildup.

Anyone with questions regarding the project is asked to call Bita Mousavi, the DDC’s community construction liaison, at 718-479-4404; visit the DDC’s website; or call 311 (mention Project No. HWCSCH3-ER).

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New bus lanes expected to improve travel times along Woodhaven Boulevard


| agiudice@ridgewoodtimes.com

Photo by Salvatore Licata

Drivers on Woodhaven Boulevard will have some new rules to follow starting this month.

In continuing efforts to improve bus travel times and reliability, the Department of Transportation (DOT) is creating offset bus-only lanes on Woodhaven Boulevard between Dry Harbor Road and Metropolitan Avenue on the Rego Park/Middle Village border. Only buses will be permitted to travel on the lanes during the morning and evening rush hours.

The proposed changes will affect two 20-foot travel lanes on the right side in each direction, which are shared as parking spaces and bus stops. They will be converted into 8-foot parking/bus stop lanes and 12-foot bus lanes.

The bus-only restriction in the designated lanes will be in effect five days a week, Monday through Friday, from 7 to 10 a.m. and from 4 to 7 p.m. At all other times, they will be regular travel lanes, permitting use from any vehicle. Parking will remain along the curb with all existing regulations intact.

Regardless of time, vehicles can enter or cross over a bus lane to make right turns, to access a curb cut or driveway within 200 feet, enter a parking space, or to quickly drop off or pick up passengers.

The new bus lanes are expected to improve bus travel time and reliability for the nearly 30,000 daily bus riders along Woodhaven Boulevard. It is also a harbinger for further changes as the DOT and MTA implement Select Bus Service along Woodhaven and Cross Bay boulevards in the months to come.

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Councilman starts petition for traffic safety improvements surrounding Astoria Park


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo by Katrina Medoff

After the life of a 21-year-old woman was cut short last month on her way home, one local politician is putting his foot down and asking Astoria residents to join the fight to bring safety improvements in and around Astoria Park.

Councilman Costa Constantinides started a petition Monday calling for improvements to be made on streets such as Shore Boulevard, Ditmars Boulevard, 19th Street and Hoyt Avenue South.

“The streets surrounding Astoria Park are a dangerous stretch for pedestrians. The corridor is used by many families and children on the way to the park. All the while, many motorists race to and from the park at high rates of speed. A recent hit-and-run death that occurred in the area shows that we need better traffic safety,” Constantinides said. “We have made great strides recently in calming traffic in Astoria through safety improvements on 21st Street south of Hoyt Avenue and through the upcoming slow zone south of Astoria Boulevard. That’s why I have started a petition to support traffic improvements on the streets in and around Astoria Park. I look forward to working with DOT to make Astoria a safer place to live.”

The petition comes after Betty DiBiasio was struck on June 28 by a car as she was crossing a marked crosswalk at the intersection of Ditmars Boulevard and 19th Street, just blocks from her home.

The car, which was being driven by 24-year-old Astoria resident Nicholas Colleran, drove through a stop sign and then struck DiBiasio, according to officials.

Colleran allegedly called 911 about an hour after the accident to report that his car had been stolen and in his vehicle theft investigation report claimed it had been taken from a parking lot in the back of his residence. The vehicle was discovered in another location in Astoria with a broken windshield and driver’s side-view mirror, and a damaged driver’s side front fender.

There also appeared to be blood and hair in the driver’s side windshield, where it was broken, and, according to Queens District Attorney Richard Brown, was consistent with a vehicle striking a pedestrian and the pedestrian hitting the windshield.

Colleran then turned himself into the police where he admitted that he had two beers before driving and striking DiBiasio and then leaving the scene.

He was charged with leaving the scene of an incident without reporting a death, third-degree falsely reporting an incident, failure to stop for a stop sign, driving by an unlicensed operator, failure to exercise due care and a violation of the city’s administrative code.

To sign Constantinides’ petition, click here.

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Students from P.S. 207 in Howard Beach call for traffic safety


| amatua@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Office of Phil Goldfeder

Students from P.S. 207 in Howard Beach have stirred Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder to call for improved traffic safety near the school.

After third-graders from the school held a rally for improved traffic safety around school grounds on Friday, June 26, Goldfeder sent a letter to Department of Transportation (DOT) Queens Borough Commissioner Nicole Garcia requesting yield signs at crosswalks outside of the school.

“I am truly inspired by the students of Class 301 for their efforts to improve pedestrian safety in our community,” Goldfeder said. “Installing yield signs outside P.S. 207 will help ensure that our students can come home safely from school each and every day. I urge the Department of Transportation to take immediate action and make these necessary upgrades before someone gets hurt.”

At the rally, Goldfeder received more than 500 signatures from Howard Beach residents calling for the installation of signs around the school to urge drivers to yield to pedestrians. The yellow pedestrian signs already installed have not been effective in spurring cars to yield when a crossing guard is not present, residents said in the petition.

Goldfeder also met with the students of Class 301 to offer his support and received handmade yield signs from students thanking him for his efforts. In his letter, Goldfeder asked Garcia to install yield signs at the four intersections around P.S. 207 including 88th and 89th streets between 169th and 160th Avenues.

“No parent should have to fear for their child’s safety when sending them off to school each morning,” Goldfeder said. “This small step will help give area families the peace of mind they need and deserve.”

A formal request has been sent to the DOT and Jon Greenfield, communications director for Goldfeder, said they are looking forward to working with the agency to install these yield signs.

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North Shore Towers residents rally for left-hand signal in Floral Park


| asuriel@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Stephen Vrattos

Residents of the North Shore Towers rallied on June 25 to continue their fight for a left-hand turn signal at a busy intersection near their co-op buildings.

Co-op members charge that the high volume of cars make it treacherous for pedestrians to cross the street at the meeting point of Grand Central Parkway and Little Neck Parkway, but inquiries to state agencies have produced no increase in safety measures. Residents of the building were at the rally, as well at Glen Kotowski, co-op general manager, and Mort Gitter, board president.

“It’s a very dangerous turn onto the Grand Central Parkway side road,” resident Sheila Fejes said.

“We’re not giving up,” added rally organizer Felice Hannah, who serves as both the chair of the Political Action Committee and a co-op board member at North Shore Towers.

State Senator Tony Avella has also been involved in the unsuccessful fight for increased street signage at the intersection.

“Once again, the Department of Transportation is not being responsive to the needs of the community,” Avella said. “Despite DOT denying my request for additional controls, the conditions at this intersection demand further action.”

A representative from Avella’s office said that he previously had put in a request for the installation of a left-hand turn signal in February, but after some consideration the DOT office decided that additional signage was not needed.

To change any existing street sign configuration in New York City, the DOT must complete a study to understand the extent of existing safety risks and determine any possible effects it could have on local traffic. As part of this study, the DOT analyzes reports from the Department of Motor Vehicles on traffic accidents occurring in the last three years in the affected area.

A source in the Queens DOT office said that the agency is currently studying the location after being contacted by Hannah in April, and will share the results with stakeholders once its review is completed.

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DOT commissioner headlines Myrtle Avenue BID meeting in Ridgewood


| editorial@ridgewoodtimes.com

RIDGEWOOD TIMES/Photo by Kelly Marie Mancuso

BY KELLY MARIE MANCUSO

The city’s top transportation official touted ongoing traffic initiatives during the 27th Myrtle Avenue Business Improvement District (BID) yearly meeting on Tuesday night in Ridgewood.

As the event’s keynote speaker, NYC Department of Transportation (DOT) Commissioner Polly Trottenberg spoke in support of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Vision Zero initiative and touted the success of the program. Trottenberg has referred to the Vision Zero initiative as one of the “signature priorities” of both the de Blasio administration and the DOT.

“We look forward to this partnership on safety projects, causes and all of the other things that will help make this neighborhood really thrive and be prosperous,” Trottenberg said.

The action plans are meant to target problematic intersections with high crash and fatality rates. The DOT hopes to reduce incidents of injury or death through a combination of education, enforcement and engineering improvements, including curbside neckdowns and designated bicycle lanes.

Capt. Mark Wachter, the 104th Precinct’s commanding officer, shared in Trottenberg’s optimism. “Vision Zero is working,” he said. “Fatalities are down, and that’s the biggest thing.”

Wachter employs a similar approach to the DOT’s action plans in his combination of community education and enforcement. This dual pronged effort focuses on preventing unsafe behavior through education while curbing ongoing hazardous behavior through hefty fines and enforcement.

According to Wachter, the 104th Precinct saw three fewer fatalities this year versus the previous year. For the captain, the success of Vision Zero is a joint effort shared among motorists, pedestrians and cyclists.

“Everybody’s got to look out. It’s everybody’s job,” Wachter explained. He cautioned motorists and pedestrians alike to use be alert at intersections and dangerous turns, and warned pedestrians to avoid using cellphones while walking.

DOT Senior Project Manager Alexander Keating noted that the Community Board 5 area, which includes Ridgewood, is participating in the federally funded “Go Smart NYC” pilot program designed to reduce congestion and pollution while increasing foot traffic to local businesses and communities. Go Smart NYC aims to increase education regarding travel options and alternatives to driving, such as walking, biking, carpooling and mass transit.

As an added incentive, program participants sign in and log their trips on the Go Smart website in exchange for special discounts at local merchants and retailers. For example, local restaurants such as Ltauha and Ridgewood Eats are offering participants 10 percent off their dine-in orders through December 2015. Rudy’s Bakery, the Onderdonk House and Cook’s Crafts in Glendale are offering discounts for various goods and services.

Thus far, 289 Board 5 residents have signed up for the Go Smart NYC program, according to Keating. Out of the 229 total trips logged, 101 were on foot, translating into 15,000 total calories burned and a communal savings of $455.

Meanwhile, City Councilman Antonio Reynoso advocated for bike lanes and greater bike access throughout the district.

“Vehicles have a convenient way to get across in a way that bikes don’t,” he explained. “People are breaking the law to compensate for that, which is not acceptable, but as a city we need to make sure that we can put the infrastructure in place that would allow for them to move freely as well.”

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