Tag Archives: DOT

Citi Bike share program headed to Astoria


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Cristabelle Tumola

Citi Bike is coming to Astoria.

Although the Department of Transportation (DOT) has yet to set a timetable as to when the Citi Bike share program will be coming into Queens, Senator Michael Gianaris has announced he has worked with the DOT to include Astoria in the future plans.

“Citi Bike will be a great addition to Astoria, which has a growing cycling community and is already one of the most bike-friendly neighborhoods in the city,” said Gianaris.

Astoria now joins Long Island City and Sunnyside as future locations in the borough for the Citi Bike share program.

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

The DOT previously told The Courier that although the expansion into Long Island City was delayed, it is working to bring the Citi Bike stations to the neighborhood as soon as possible. “Bike share will allow people to enjoy the neighborhood in a fun and healthy way and will help people more easily travel around western Queens, an area in dire need of better mass transit,” said Gianaris.

 

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Safety improvements at fatal Long Island City intersection


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer

Months after 16-year-old Tenzin Drudak was struck and killed near LaGuardia Community College, the Department of Transportation (DOT) has answered students and residents’ pleas for safety enhancements.

Drudak, a student at the Applied Communications High School inside the community college’s building, died after being struck by a minivan that lost control and mounted the sidewalk at the intersection of Thomson Avenue and 30th Street in Long Island City. Four of five other pedestrians hit in the same incident were students at LaGuardia.

After Drudak’s death, residents, Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer, Community Board 2 and LaGuardia Community College officials called on the DOT to enhance pedestrian safety at the intersection.

“No New Yorker should feel their life is in jeopardy when they are walking along the sidewalks of our City streets” said Van Bramer.

Since April, the DOT has implemented short-term improvements including adjusting the timing of signals near the intersection and installing pedestrian countdown signals at Thomson and Skillman Avenues, 30th Street, 30th Place, 31st Street and 31st Place. The agency has also added signs and improved markings at Thomson Avenue and Van Dam Street.

In the latest changes, the DOT said it has redesigned Thomson and Skillman Avenues by closing the slip ramp and making it illegal for vehicles to makes left turns from Thomson Avenue onto Skillman Avenue.

The department added it has installed new signs and plastic markers to limit left turns from Thomson Avenue to 30th Street.

There is also a brand new 550-square-foot pedestrian space at the intersection of 30th Street and Thomson Avenue. It is bordered by stone blocks, plastic markings and six planters.

According to the DOT, all the changes were aimed at improving safety for the large volume of students and residents that walk through the intersection daily.

 

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Residents: Area around Whitestone park unsafe for pedestrians


| mchan@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Melissa Chan

Getting to and from a Whitestone playground is no walk in the park, some residents say.

The lack of a crosswalk or traffic controls at the 3rd Avenue and 147th Street entrance to Francis Lewis Park is dangerous to pedestrians, said Malba Civic Association president Alfredo Centola.

“It’s a beautiful park,” Centola said. “These poor kids, with their parents, whenever they come to the park to play, they have to take their lives in their hands.”

Most residents must cross three-way traffic to enter and leave the park, located at the edge of the East River, since the majority of homes in the area lie across 147th Street.

Irene Rama of Whitestone said sometimes she and her kids are forced to stop in the middle of the street to avoid an oncoming car even after stopping to look in every direction beforehand.

Residents say a piece of property, bordered by jutting construction boards, that is being developed directly next to the park impairs the vision of pedestrians trying to cross.

“It’s a long stretch,” said Rama. “There are kids running all the time. There should be something here. It’s a huge intersection.”

Mark Felber, 67, who lives down the street from the park, said he would like to see better traffic controls.

“This is a popular street,” he said. “I have grandkids. They run over there and there’s no stop sign.”

There were no injuries at the intersection in question between 2007 and 2011, a spokesperson for the city’s Department of Transportation (DOT) said.

But the department said there were four serious ones from car accidents, not involving pedestrians, during that period at 3rd Avenue and the westbound Whitestone service road.

“While DOT has not received any recent requests related to this location, the agency will study the applicability of a stop sign or other traffic controls at 3rd Avenue and 147th Street as well as the feasibility of speed bumps in the area,” the spokesperson said.

Centola said he has sent the DOT a letter of complaint every 18 months since 2005.

Queens Borough Commissioner Maura McCarthy mailed the civic leader a response in 2011 saying the department completed an analysis and determined “Multi-Way Stop controls are not recommended at this time.”

“Factors such as vehicular and pedestrian volumes, vehicular speeds, visibility and signal spacing were all taken into consideration in making our determination,” the correspondence reads.

Shortly after the letter, the city installed one pedestrian crossing sign in front of the park, but it only faces one direction of traffic. Centola said the sign is also too high for drivers to see.

“At this point, I’m speechless and dumbfounded,” he said. “The DOT is once again being negligent and refusing to take care of the issues.”

 

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Long Island City neighborhood calls for traffic safety improvements


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Benjamin Fang

ANGY ALTAMIRANO AND BENJAMIN FANG

As the Dutch Kills neighborhood in Long Island City continues to grow, local politicians and residents are calling on the Department of Transportation (DOT) to improve traffic safety.

“The city must ensure that its priority remains the safety of neighborhood residents,” said Senator Michael Gianaris. “We are trying to be proactive on this side of the plaza and make sure that the residents and people who are staying in hotels here are safe as they walk the streets and visit all the new businesses.”

According to Gianaris and Dominic Stiller, president of the Dutch Kills Civic Association, there have been six to seven car crashes and accidents over the past several months at intersections in the neighborhood from 38th Avenue and 40th Avenue to 21st Street and 30th Street.

Through a petition, residents are asking the DOT for curb extensions, speed bumps, more four-way stop signs, new stop signs and enforcement of existing traffic laws to reduce speeding and unsafe driving as well as enhance pedestrian safety.

“This is a topic where lives can be saved,” said Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer. “We don’t want to wait until someone dies here before the Department of Transportation takes all of these really good suggestions.”

A DOT spokesperson said safety is department’s first priority. Nicholas Mosquera added the DOT has met with Gianaris to discuss safety enhancements at 39th Avenue and 29th Street, an area which the agency is reevaluating for extra stop signs and marking upgrades. The DOT is also inspecting the Queensboro Plaza area to figure out if there are any additional methods needed to increase safety.

The DOT has also launched an outreach initiative in the area and positioned street safety managers to help pedestrians and bicyclists near Dutch Kills Park.

“This initiative is part of a citywide campaign to educate and promote shared responsibility for everyone using the streets,” said Mosquera said.

 

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Forest Hills, Rego Park get more bike racks


| mchan@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Rosa Kim

Forest Hills and Rego Park cyclists are getting nearly 40 more places to lock up and park.

The city’s Department of Transportation (DOT) has installed most of its proposed 39 bike racks within Community Board 6, a spokesperson said, with remaining sites to be scheduled over the next few weeks.

“Without a doubt, we need these bike racks,” said cyclist Sterling Dadone. “We don’t have places to lock up, so we lock up to whatever we can — fences and gates.”

Specific locations of the racks were not disclosed as of press time. But CB 6 District Manager Frank Gulluscio said they will be scattered throughout the district in high volume areas.

Bikers can already find the racks up and down Yellowstone Boulevard and along Woodhaven Boulevard, Queens Boulevard, Austin Street and Selfridge Street near commercial, civic or recreational hotspots. Sidewalks have to be at least 11 feet wide to support a rack.

“More and more people are asking us about bike racks and paths in the district,” Gulluscio said. “It’s a good thing. You just see more and more people on bikes.”

He added that the district’s close proximity to Manhattan and its lack of parking makes it an ideal hub for bikers. According to the district manager, there are currently less than ten bike racks in Forest Hills and Rego Park.

“Why not leave your car and take your bike if you can lock it up near a store?” he said. “We look forward to the city going green. That’s what it’s all about at the end of the day.”

Resident Victor Ortega said the racks will make life easier for him and his fellow cyclists.

“I wouldn’t have to park my bike somewhere and worry about it,” he said.

Additional reporting by Rosa Kim

 

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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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Forest Hills biz owners: Parking plans would ‘kill us’


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Rosa Kim

BY MELISSA CHAN AND ROSA KIM

The city’s plans to make a dangerous Forest Hills intersection safer would crush local shops, business owners said.

The Department of Transportation (DOT) has proposed turning 14 metered parking spots along Metropolitan Avenue, between 70th Drive and 71st Avenue, into No Standing zones.

The measure is meant to improve traffic flow, ease congestion and make the crosswalk safer for pedestrians and simpler for motorists, a DOT spokesperson said.

Thirteen people were injured at Metropolitan Avenue and 71st Avenue between 2006 and 2010, the DOT said. Two were pedestrians who were severely hurt. In 2011, a left-turning car struck and killed another person who was crossing the street.

But business owners said the change would devastate already struggling stores that rely on more than just foot traffic.

“Without parking spots, we cannot operate,” said Tony Sparacino of Father and Sons Florist. “As little as we have, we need them. It’ll kill the drugstore, the bakery, all of us.”

Sam Cardenli of Piccola Italia said parking is already sparse.

“Sometimes you go around and around and you don’t find any parking,” she said. “If they remove the parking from here, it’s going to make it harder for the customers and we’re going to lose business.”

The DOT said many Metropolitan Avenue businesses have their own parking lots. Surveys conducted by the department show low Muni Meter usage, with only a fraction of spaces being occupied throughout the week.

There are also plans to relocate the 71st Avenue bus stop to 70th Drive and install a painted center median with a left turn bay. The DOT said the projects are not yet scheduled.

“If it happens, there’s going to be an uproar,” Sparacino said.

Forest Hills resident Wolfgang Rapp said he crosses the intersection daily without thinking he is in danger.

“This intersection is nothing compared to Queens Boulevard, which is really a death trap,” he said. “Reasonable people cross the street in reasonable ways. They look around and cars don’t really speed. So that concern about the safety of this area, it’s a non-issue.”

Pedestrian Karah Michaels said she could see the logic behind moving the bus stop.

“Despite the lights, a lot could happen here,” she said. If it’s going to a street where there’s a lot less traffic, I think it would be a lot safer.”

 

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State lawmakers approve speed cameras near NYC schools


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

The New York State Legislature passed a bill over the weekend allowing for the installation of speed cameras near 20 schools with documented speeding issues.

Drivers caught speeding by the cameras will face $50 fines.

“The Legislature has clearly stated that the streets around our schools should be safe havens, not speed traps. Speed cameras will help put a freeze frame on the number-one killer on our city’s roads,” said Department of Transportation (DOT) Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan.

Though the city experienced historic lows in annual traffic deaths last year, vehicle accidents increased from 49 in 2011 to 81 in 2012, and were “the greatest single factor in traffic deaths,” according to the DOT.

In March, the City Council approved a resolution calling on the state Legislature to pass a law for a city speed camera pilot program that would test 20 to 40 speed cameras at high-risk locations.

The DOT asked that priority be given to streets near schools with documented speeding problems.

But the following month, the state Legislature failed to include funding for the program when it passed the 2013-2014 budget.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who has supported speed cameras along with the City Council and NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly, publicly lambasted local state Senators for failing to approve the pilot.

“[Speeding] remains the single greatest contributing factor in traffic fatalities in New York City, and we have long advocated in Albany for the authority to install speed cameras to help save lives,” Bloomberg said in a statement Saturday. “If a driver strikes a child at 40 miles per hour, there is a 70 percent chance the child will be killed. At 30 miles per hour, there is an 80 percent chance the child survives.”

 

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Maspeth residents continue to fight truck traffic


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Liam La Guerre

Maspeth residents have road rage for big rig drivers.

Community leaders and residents held a rally at the intersection of 64th Street and Flushing Avenue on June 20 to bring attention to a perceived excess of tractor trailer traffic in the area.

Residents have long contended drivers ignore laws and use residential streets as shortcuts to avoid traffic on the Long Island Expressway. They say the trucks increase noise and pollution in the community and are calling for more enforcement by police.

“Maspeth deserves a community with fewer trucks,” Councilmember Elizabeth Crowley said. “It’s one thing to have local deliveries, but it’s another thing to have huge trucks.”

In 2011, the city passed the Maspeth Bypass plan to prevent trucks from using local streets to make deliveries.

However, Crowley and others say drivers continue to exit the expressway and use Flushing and Grand Avenues when going to Brooklyn due to a lack of signs that direct trucks to streets they may use, and the fact the official truck map does not reflect changes in the plan. The Department of Transportation (DOT) maintains a map showing approved paths for trucks.

The 104th Precinct said while officers do ticket trucks for infractions, judges throw the cases out on grounds the signs and maps have not been changed.

“We’ve been trying to get the map adjusted, but as it stands, it still is a lawful route,” said Lieutenant George Hellmer of the 104th Precinct. Locals say the trucks — most of them 16- and 18-wheelers, but sometimes longer — rattle houses and awaken people when they go by as early as 2 a.m.

Residents also say the traffic light at 64th Street and Flushing Avenue has been knocked over and fixed multiple times as trucks have struggled to turn off Grand Avenue onto Flushing Avenue.

Residents are also concerned about children, citing an August 2010 incident in which a truck struck and killed 12-year-old Frederick Endres while the boy was riding his bicycle on Fresh Pond Road.

“This is a residential area and people just want to have peaceful lives,” said Anna Zacalunov, who lives on Grand Avenue.

As the rally progressed, residents counted the number of trucks that drove by. In an hour-and-a-half, more than 250 tractor trailers of varying sizes were seen up and down the intersection.

“They don’t care. They are giving us the finger, some of them,” said Roe Daraio, president of Communities of Maspeth & Elmhurst Together (COMET), the civic association that organized the rally. “Laws with no enforcement mean nothing.”

The next step for the community is to meet with DOT to get the maps changed and signs put up.

But not all residents think drivers are the only ones to blame.

“Also, I think they should ticket the dispatcher,” said Maspeth resident Bob Nastasi. “He’s the one telling these out-of-state guys where to go.”

 

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Parents, officials call for crosswalk outside Lindenwood school


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Terence M. Cullen

As students poured out of school, a crowd gathered on the corner of 153rd Avenue and 83rd Street in Lindenwood.

Passing through were parents and guardians, sometimes holding the hands of several children as they tried to cross 153rd Avenue toward the Lindenwood Shopping Center. The crossing guard shuttled people across 83rd Street, but could not stop traffic because there is no crosswalk.

Parents, teachers and community leaders rallied outside P.S. 232 on Friday, June 14. They urged the Department of Transportation (DOT) to install a crosswalk across 153rd Avenue at the corner of the school.

State Senator Joseph Addabbo, whose daughters are students there, hosted the rally.

He said the goal was to first get a crosswalk, and then get proper signs to make the intersection a little safer. He added he has also spoken to the 106th Precinct’s commanding officer, Deputy Inspector Thomas Pascale, who said a crosswalk there would increase safety

“I did have a conversation with Inspector Pascale,” Addabbo said. “He said he’s in favor of a crosswalk if they ask [...] He would want one here to allow his crossing guard to cross people.”

Community Board 10 would support a crosswalk plan if DOT were to come up with one for the street, Board chair Elizabeth Braton said.

“If DOT indicates that it’s safe from their standpoint of traffic engineering,” she said, “I don’t see any reason why the board would not support it.”

“We don’t feel safe without that crosswalk there,” said parent Lisa Neumann. “Hopefully, they’ll get our message.”
Stefanie Calise, whose son attends nearby P.S. 146 and gets dropped off at the intersection, said she nearly got hit by a car last week trying to cross the street.

Children “can’t cross that by themselves,” she said.

However, a DOT spokesperson said the intersection does not meet the criteria for a crosswalk under federal guidelines. Officials are looking into other ways to ease traffic at the intersection, the spokesperson said.

The most recent data DOT has to go by are from 2007 to 2011, when there were no injuries at the intersection.

Addabbo addressed the statistics at the rally and called for a more aggressive approach.

“Far too often, our city reacts to a bad situation,” he said. “They’ll give us statistics about not enough accidents here, not enough fatalities here. What we’re asking: let’s not be reactive, let’s be pro-active. Let’s prevent an accident.”

 

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Long Island City, Astoria bike lanes to get makeover


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Angy Altamirano / Graphics courtesy of DOT

Vernon Boulevard’s bike lanes are set to get a makeover this summer to provide extra safety for riders and more space for drivers.

According to a plan the Department of Transportation (DOT) presented to Community Board 2 on June 6, the two one-way bike paths on each side of Vernon Boulevard would become a two-way protected lane. The lane would have a five-foot buffer running alongside the west side of the street. The lanes would also be painted green to provide easier visibility.

“This project is intended to knit together existing sections of the greenway by providing a continuous, protected bike lane serving neighborhoods along the East River waterfront,” said DOT spokesperson Nicholas Mosquera.

The existing bike lanes were set up as part of the Queens East River Greenway in 2008, which connects the waterfront from Hallet’s Cove in Astoria to 45th Road in Hunters Point.

After hearing community concerns over the lack of parking, DOT also plans to create a protected bike path through Rainey Park in Astoria. That would free up 35 parking spaces between 34th Avenue and 33rd Road.

According to the plan, the two-way bike lane will help beginning riders feel more comfortable on the streets and bring more bicyclists to the path. The wider path would allow joggers to benefit from the space, too.

“The project, which DOT has proposed for implementation this summer, has the support of Community Board 1 and the agency continues to work with Community Board 2 on this initiative,” said Mosquera.

 

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Board weighs in on DOT plan to fix Lindenwood parking problems


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

Community Board (CB) 10 has approved a new plan, with amendments, to ameliorate parking problems on a Lindenwood block.

The Department of Transportation (DOT) proposed the plan for 156th Avenue between 77th and 78th Streets. It would fix what a representative called a long-standing problem that is part of a larger infrastructure project on the border of Brooklyn.

Temporary parking lines would be painted diagonally on the island between east- and westbound traffic. As drivers head west, they will be able to pull into the spots — as opposed to parking in the middle of the street as many do now.

“Sometimes you have cars parking next to each other on this block, which could become a safety issue,” DOT representative Al Silvestri told the board.

The current plan has drivers backing out on to 156th Avenue, heading west, as they leave their spots. However, along that side of the street, there are homes with driveways that board members said might be in danger.

CB 10 suggested DOT flip the plan so drivers pull out on the eastbound side, where there are no driveways.

“If the parking was on the other side, angled the same way, it would not be a problem,” said Joann Ariola, a board member and president of the Lindenwood Alliance.

“We just want to make sure it works, because we don’t know how long we have to live with this,” she said.
Board members also suggested DOT officials explore putting in a concrete median with parallel parking on either side.

Silvestri said a median has been explored, but would result in fewer parking spots.

Although the board has voted on the change and added suggestions, DOT is not required to implement any of the amended plans.

 

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East Elmhurst gets slow zone


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/ Photo by Johann Hamilton

East Elmhurst residents are able to cross a little easier.

Councilmember Daniel Dromm and Department of Transportation (DOT) Queens Borough Deputy Commissioner Dalila Hall announced the East Elmhurst Slow Zone as part of the DOT’s Neighborhood Slow Zone initiative last week.

The DOT’s initiative is a community-based program that reduces the speed limit to 20 mph in order to increase pedestrian safety. The new slow zone — the sixth to be implemented in New York City and the second in the borough — will also look to lower the amount of traffic going through the neighborhood.

Dromm proposed the East Elmhurst Slow Zone to DOT last year in response to concerns he heard from the community.

“I am very pleased we were able to collaborate with the Department of Transportation to increase the safety of pedestrians in East Elmhurst,” he said. “These measures will make it safer for everybody, but especially for seniors and children, to walk through the neighborhood.”

The slow zone covers the area from Astoria Boulevard to 31st Avenue and from the Brooklyn Queens Expressway to 82nd Street.

“Local neighborhoods streets are not highways, they are not short cuts — they are where we live,” said Hall. “Our residential streets need to be designed for this human scale, and by simply reducing the speed of passing cars by 10 miles per hour, we can save lives as we make the streets where people live more inviting and safer.”

The slow zone will also include important traffic calming features such as narrowing streets by instituting parking lanes and creating a painted median in the middle of 30th Avenue. DOT has also constructed speed bumps in the area, posted more signs with the new 20 mph speed limit and pushed street parking away from intersections in order to create a larger field of vision for motorists.

“It’s worth it because more precautions mean more lives saved,” said East Elmhurst resident Michelle Gomez, 39. “Although it might not be followed at first, it can always be enforced by the police.”

Later this month, Dromm will propose the creation of the Jackson Heights Slow Zone, projected to stretch from 69th Street to 87th Street between Roosevelt Avenue and Northern Boulevard.

With additional reporting by Johann Hamilton

 

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Pols want to speed up bike share expansion in western Queens


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Cristabelle Tumola

With the much-anticipated Citi Bike Share scheduled to begin by the end of the month, local politicians are calling on the Department of Transportation (DOT) to speed up expansion into western Queens.

On May 9, DOT set the Citi Bike Share’s start for the week of Memorial Day for annual members who sign up by May 17. The program is slated to open to daily and weekly members on June 2.

The program, which is operated by NYC Bike Share, will offer specially designed, durable bikes at docking stations around the city. Members can rent the bikes with special keys. They be available 24 hours a day year-round for 30 to 45 minutes at a go depending on the user’s membership plan.

The DOT plans to set up bike stations in Long Island City and Sunnyside within the year. Those are the only parts of the borough currently set to be covered by Citi Bike Share.

“Our community has worked for years to make western Queens more bike-friendly, and our efforts have been largely successful,” said Senator Michael Gianaris. “I am pleased to see that Long Island City is included in future plans, and I hope that the program will be quickly expanded to more western Queens neighborhoods.”

In recent years, western Queens has been the recipient of many bike-related amenities. Queensboro Bridge now features improved bike access. Also, developments like the Queens East River and North Shore Greenway have delivered transportation alternatives to and from Manhattan and Brooklyn.

Gianaris and Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer will continue to work with DOT, Citi Bike Share and local groups to speed up the process of bringing bike stations to Long Island City and the rest of western Queens.

“While we are initially placing the stations in the densest contiguous parts of the city that would generate the most use of the bikes, there will be a chance to expand in the future based on demand and resources,” said DOT spokesperson Scott Gastel.

You can find a map of stations included in the current plan at citibikenyc.com/stations.

 

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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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