Tag Archives: DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan

DOT, NYPD announce nighttime closure of Queensboro Bridge outer roadway lane to reduce speeding


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/ File Photo

A few weeks following the fatal accident of an off-duty police officer off the Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge, the Department of Transportation (DOT) and NYPD have implemented a new change looking to increase safety for drivers and pedestrians.

The DOT and NYPD announced on Tuesday the single lane of the Queens-bound outer roadway of the Queensboro Bridge will be closed each day to vehicular traffic from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m., starting Monday, Dec. 30.

The nighttime closure hopes to reduce the possibility for speeding and any other dangerous driving at night when the lane is not being used. All traffic capacity on Queens-bound inner and upper roadway lanes will not be affected.

“This upgrade to the Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge is just the latest step we’ve taken to keep the more than 180,000 daily drivers crossing safely on one of the city’s most iconic bridges,” said DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan.

The daily closure and reopening of the outer roadway lane will be organized by NYPD traffic officers who are already stationed at the bridge to manage the weekday reversal of the two upper roadway Queens-bound lanes.

The closure comes after the DOT conducted a review of current safety measures, traffic volumes and travel speed following the death of 10-year NYPD veteran Elisa Toro, 36,  on December 10.

Toro was heading off the bridge’s exit ramp around 1:50 a.m. when she struck a guardrail, then a cement barrier, said police. The car then flipped onto its passenger side, hitting a vacant storefront on Queens Plaza South at Crescent Street  in Long Island City. Toro, a Bronx resident, was pronounced dead at the scene. No one else was injured in the accident, said police.

“I applaud the DOT for finally giving this dangerous stretch of road the attention it deserves,” said State Senator Michael Gianaris who asked the DOT to improve traffic safety in the area and redesign the bridge’s exit ramp, after a series of accidents in 2011. “Hopefully, the nighttime closure of the Queens-bound outer roadway will provide the time for a proper evaluation of the street design coming off the Queensboro Bridge exit ramp so we can eventually solve this problem once and for all.”

According to the DOT, the outer-roadway closure joins other traffic measures installed by the Queens Plaza South exit ramp since 2011. The traffic measures include three 20 mph messages, “shark teeth” markings on the road, 14 yellow and 12 white 36”-by-8” aluminum-backed reflectors, four sets of rumble strips warning drivers they are approaching a reduced speed zone, and much more. Throughout the day, the agency plans to continue monitoring traffic volumes, safety measures and driving conditions on the bridge. 

 

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Corona to benefit from $800K Chase gift to Neighborhood Plaza Partnership


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of Councilmember Julissa Ferreras’ Office

Corona Plaza has received a helping hand, along with other public plazas around the city,  to become cleaner, greener and part of the community.

Councilmember Julissa Ferreras gathered with local representatives, Department of Transportation (DOT) Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan and residents on Tuesday to announce an $800,000 leadership gift from Chase to the Neighborhood Plaza Partnership (NPP).

The gift allows the DOT’s community partners in under-resourced neighborhoods to have the support to keep public plazas clean, green and vibrant for the communities.

“Because our community deserves the same kind of public amenity as any other, we have rallied around the Plaza Program and this site for more than five years,” said Ferreras. “The Queens Economic Development Corporation has forged a wonderful partnership with the Queens Museum of Art to provide countless free programs and events year-round to hundreds of local residents. Their donated time and energy has truly made Corona Plaza one of the best public spaces anywhere in New York City. We are delighted that, thanks to Chase, the excellent service NPP provides here will expand to our sister plazas in other parts of Queens and across the City.”

The NPP gives the community partners affordable, high-quality plaza maintenance and horticulture care through The Horticultural Society (The Hort) and The Association of Community Employment Programs for the Homeless (ACE NY). Together with Chase, the NPP helps create jobs and will work to make sure the DOT Plaza Program grows in all five boroughs.

The November 26 announcement included music from La Cumbiamba and activities from the Uni Pop-Up Library. Students from P.S. 16 in Corona spent the morning gardening and released ladybugs to show the “transformative power of neighborhood plazas.”

Ferreras also presented Edgar Gutierrez, store manager of the local Walgreens, with the “Daily Point of Light” award from the Points of Light Foundation for his volunteering and efforts to promote Corona Plaza.

“Corona Plaza is the perfect place to announce this visionary philanthropic gift from Chase, and to bestow a national award for volunteerism on Mr. Edgar Gutierrez – one of our many unsung heroes,” said Ferreras.

 

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City to install pedestrian signs in LIC


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of the Department of Transportation

Finding your way around Long Island City is going to get easier.

The Department of Transportation (DOT) has announced the first phase of installations for the city’s new pedestrian sign system, WalkNYC. The program will install 100 free-standing signs by the end of the year in four initial areas including Chinatown, Herald Square and the Garment District in Manhattan, Prospect Heights and Crown Heights in Brooklyn, and Long Island City in Queens.

“You don’t need to be a tourist to feel turned-around on New York’s streets and this first-ever unified pedestrian sign system is a step in the right direction,” said DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan.

The signs, which already appear in more than 300 Citi Bike stations, will be installed in sidewalks and subway stations in the four areas. The maps will show streets, major points of interest and other info. The maps feature a “heads-up” design to show pedestrians the way the street appears in front of them.

Installation has already begun in Manhattan and will work its way around the four areas. The signs are scheduled to reach Long Island City in August.

“The launch of this new pedestrian navigation system will provide New Yorkers as well as millions of tourists who visit our city each year directly with the information they need to access some of the greatest attractions and essential venues we have to offer,” said Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer.

The program was established mainly through federal grants. Working together with community partners, the DOT was able to research, identify and note popular locations, primary routes and distinct points in each neighborhood. In Long Island City, the DOT has worked alongside the Long Island City Partnership as the program developed. Once the signs are installed, the LIC Partnership will be responsible for sign maintenance and monitoring for needed updates or repairs.

The DOT is also working with other business improvement districts and community partners to expand the pedestrian sign system to more neighborhoods around the city.

 

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Call for crossing guard at ‘dangerous’ Elmhurst intersection


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Angy Altamirano

A local politician and a school principal are calling on the Department of Transportation (DOT) to ensure the safety of pedestrians, especially school children, who cross a “dangerous” intersection.

In March, Senator Jose Peralta urged DOT to take a closer look at the intersection of Junction Boulevard and the Horace Harding Expressway in Elmhurst. The 110th and 112th Precincts had advised him neither would provide a crossing guard. A guard used to monitor the intersection.

“This is a very dangerous intersection for students and it is imperative that we have proper supervision at this corner,” P.S. 206 Principal Joan Thomas wrote in a request to bring back a school crossing guard. “I am very concerned about the safety of my children.”

P.S. 206, located at 61-02 98th Street, is near the heavily trafficked area. Students cross the intersection on their way between home and school every day.

“Every neighborhood needs safe streets to thrive,” said Paul Steely White, executive director of the advocacy group Transportation Alternatives. “That’s why Junction Boulevard and Horace Harding Expressway in Queens need to be made safe for local children, families and seniors.”

According to DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan, the School Safety Engineering Office surveyed the area near P.S. 206 and found that all the signs and marking were in place and in fair conditions. Khan added that the DOT has asked its Signals Unit to consider installing Leading Pedestrian Intervals (LPI). LPIs give pedestrians time to begin crossing the street before the light turns green for drivers.

“Leading Pedestrian Intervals would be very helpful, and I hope the DOT can put them in place very soon,” Peralta said.

The senator is also calling for a speed camera.

“In the interim, I’m going to keep pushing in the Senate to allow the city to start installing speed cameras,” said Peralta, who is sponsoring a bill to that effect. “But that all said, we shouldn’t lose sight of the fact that there’s no substitute for a crossing guard to ensure the safety of school children at a dangerous intersection like this one.”

As of press time, DOT did not respond to numerous calls and emails requesting traffic stats for the intersection. Crashstat.org noted one fatality there in 2006.

 

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DOT unveils new, easier to read parking signs


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of DOT

The Department of Transportation (DOT) is hoping that newly designed signs will simplify parking in New York City.

On Monday the DOT unveiled the easy to read and see parking regulations signs, which will initially replace 6, 300 in Midtown Manhattan through this spring, then in other parts of the city.

The problem with the old parking signs was that they had differing colors, typefaces, font sizes and confusing phrasing, said the DOT. The new standardized two-color signs are phrased and formatted so they are easier to read.

“New York City’s parking signs can sometimes be a five-foot-high totem pole of confusing information,” said DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan. “Parking signs play an important role in setting the rules at the curbside and these changes will make regulations easier to read and take the stress out of figuring out where and when you can legally park.”

 

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Drivers pay with shorter yellow lights


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Billy Rennison

More city motorists may be getting tickets because of shorter yellow lights at the city’s red-light cameras, the New York Post reported.

AAA New York, through recent random surveys, found that at intersections with the cameras that catch drivers running reds, yellow lights were “shorter by as much as 15 percent compared to the city standard.”

According to the Department of Transportation (DOT), at the average 30 mph intersection, yellow lights are supposed to be three seconds long, but AAA found that at intersections with red-light cameras, yellow lights were 2.53 seconds, the Post reported.

In the city, there are 170 red-light cameras at 150 intersections, said the Post.

According to the paper, AAA is planning on using these findings to prevent the red-light program from expanding.

“Municipalities must remember that public support for the programs will remain only if the programs are fair and target deliberate red-light running, not drivers trapped by short “yellow” (amber) times,” said AAA New York on its website.

But the DOT is refuting AAA’s findings.

“This ‘study’ is bogus and the real victims here are the New Yorkers who have lost their lives in red-light running crashes. Red-light cameras save lives and deter dangerous driving, and we should dedicate resources to dangers that are killing people instead of false ‘gotcha’ claims. Two of the locations in this ‘study’ don’t even have red-light cameras and the other two—out of nearly 12,500 signalized intersections citywide—are properly timed. New York’s red-light cameras operate with a .3-second delay so that any minor variations don’t result in violations. Even though there is no legal requirement, all signals citywide are timed to the same standard regardless of whether there are cameras,” said DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan.

AAA tested the yellow lights at four Manhattan intersections: First Avenue and 125th Avenue; Madison Avenue and 96th Street; Amsterdam Avenue and 110th Street; and Amsterdam Avenue and 96th Street.

 

Drunk driver hits and kills worker on Grand Central Parkway


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

File photo

According to police, at approximately 11 a.m. a vehicle travelling on the westbound side of the Grand Central Parkway hit and killed  63-year-old Frank Avino of Ronkonkoma, Long Island, who was working on the left lane of the roadway at Jewel Avenue. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

The driver, 26-year-old Munshi Abdullah of Jamaica, Queens was taken into custody at the scene and arrested. He has been charged with vehicular manslaughter, DWI and resisting arrest, said police.

Avino, a contractor for Welsbach Electric Corp., was doing work for the New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) at the time of the accident, said the DOT. Welsbach has a contract with the city to install and maintain streetlights in Queens, including on the Grand Central Parkway.

“Our deepest sympathies go out to his family and to his loved ones. This incident reminds us of so many other tragedies on our streets caused by speeding and by drunk and reckless driving, and we will not let up in our efforts to fight each on every front,” said DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan.