Tag Archives: Junction Boulevard

Jackson Heights, Corona community marches for safer streets after traffic deaths


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Angy Altamirano

It was the final straw, and now the Jackson Heights and Corona communities are saying no more.

Family members of traffic accident victims, local elected officials and community members gathered Tuesday night to set off the inaugural action known as “Three Children Too Many.”

The group marched down Northern Boulevard, then 82nd Street, stopping to make statements about traffic control and give performances along the way. They then gathered on 79th Street and 37th Avenue to rally and remember young local lives that were cut short.

“You cope with this kind of thing and you feel terrible, sad, angry, but then there’s a tipping point,” said Laura Newman, one of the organizers of the march and resident of Jackson Heights. “We actually have to make it stop.”

Just a month before three-year-old Olvin Jahir Figueroa was fatally struck by an alleged drunk driver, Jackson Heights resident Luis Bravo, 19, lost his life in a hit-and-run in Woodside. In December of last year, 11-year-old Miguel Torres was killed as he tried to cross the street heading to school on Northern Boulevard.

In April Councilmember Daniel Dromm led the push to bring more slow zones to Jackson Heights, focusing on the side streets that meet Northern Boulevard.

“Three Children Too Many” calls on mayor-elect Bill de Blasio to choose a police commissioner who will make sure law enforcement for vehicular crimes is strongly enforced and demands more traffic calming zones, continued traffic safety education for local children, and action facilitators to lead the community towards greater safety.

“Safety is (Department of Transportation) DOT’s top priority and the agency participated in [Tuesday’s] event to highlight our shared goal of making streets safer for everyone using them,” said DOT spokesperson Nicole Garcia. “We also have been in touch with the local community, including the march’s organizers and elected officials to get feedback, share education materials and discuss ways to enhance safety at this intersection and the surrounding area.”

The agency is also looking at the signal timing at Northern and Junction Boulevards to determine if adjustments can be made, said Garcia.

Michelle L. Kaucic, community coordinator of the DOT’s Safety Education and Outreach, said the community needs to continue advocating for change and must also spread the word of not drinking and driving. The community and DOT need to work together to make the streets safe as possible, said Kaucic.

At the end of the march, participants held a moment of silence and a candlelight vigil honoring Olvin, Luis, Miguel and other victims, as family members spoke.

“Safe streets are not a luxury, it’s what we deserve,” said Councilmember Julissa Ferreras, who lost two of her best friends 20 years ago to a fatal traffic accident involving a drunk driver. “After losing several of our mothers, fathers, children and friends to fatal traffic collisions, we simply cannot tolerate to lose one more.”

 

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Fund to help family of toddler killed by alleged drunk driver in Jackson Heights


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo Courtesy Councilmember Julissa Ferreras

A family and community are left mourning three-year-old Olvin Jahir Figueroa after he was fatally struck by an alleged drunk driver while crossing a Jackson Heights street with his mother.

According to police, on October 11 at approximately 9:50 p.m. the toddler was crossing the corner of Junction Boulevard and Northern Boulevard with his mother after visiting a nearby market, when a white 2011 Acura struck him. The 35-year-old driver then stopped and drove the toddler and his mother to New York Hospital Queens in Flushing where the toddler was pronounced dead.

The driver, Gilbert Echeverria, was arrested and charged with vehicular manslaughter, criminally negligent homicide and driving while intoxicated, police said.

Councilmember Julissa Ferreras gathered with family, residents and members of the local church on Monday, October 14 to hold a candle light prayer vigil for Olvin.

“As a new mother with a baby boy of my own, I know what it is like to have so many hopes and dreams for your children,” said Ferreras. “Olvin’s parents will never get to see him attend his first day of school or see him graduate. He had his whole life ahead of him.”

The councilmember lost two of her best friends close to 20 years ago to a fatal traffic accident also involving a drunk driver at the same intersection.

Ferreras has set up a donation fund at TD Bank to help Olvin’s family with burial expenses. The account number is 4283969885. Checks should be made payable to the “Olvin Jahir Figueroa Burial Fund.”

 

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Driver charged after toddler struck, killed in Jackson Heights


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Graphic Image

A two-year-old boy is dead after being hit by an alleged drunk driver while crossing a Jackson Heights street with his mother.

According to police, on Friday night at approximately 9:50 p.m. Jaied Gigueroa was crossing the corner of Junction Boulevard and Northern Boulevard with his mother when a white 2011 Acura moving northbound on Junction Boulevard struck him. The 35-year-old driver then stopped and drove the toddler and his mother to New York Hospital Queens in Flushing where Jaied was pronounced dead.

The driver, Gilbert Echeverria, was arrested and charged with vehicular manslaughter, criminally negligent homicide and driving while intoxicated, police said. 

 

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Jackson Heights, Corona get ‘taste’ of better living thru business improvement district


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Councilmember Julissa Ferreras

Businesses, property owners and residents along Roosevelt Avenue and Junction Boulevard are getting a taste of how being a business improvement district (BID) can improve their quality of life.

Councilmember Julissa Ferreras announced sanitation and graffiti removal services for the areas. They come as part of her New Deal for Roosevelt Avenue, which promised a “taste” of services to be offered by the Jackson Heights-Corona BID.

The “Taste of the BID” is a partnership between Ferreras, the Department of Small Business Services, the 82nd Street Partnership and local property owners. The Jackson Heights-Corona BID itself, which is still being formed, will cover the major commercial corridors of Roosevelt Avenue, Junction Boulevard and 103rd Street.

“By bringing new sanitation crews to our heavily-trafficked business corridors like Roosevelt Avenue and Junction Boulevard, we are not only increasing safety and cleanliness,” Ferreras said. “We are also helping to drive new customers to our local businesses.”

Seth Taylor, executive director of the 82nd Street Partnership, touted further pluses.

“Merchants and property owners along Roosevelt Avenue and Junction Boulevard will begin to see how cleaner sidewalks can make the neighborhood a better place to shop and stroll,” he said Seth Taylor. “We are delighted that the community is getting a small taste of what the proposed Jackson Heights-Corona BID will do to improve quality of life, and we are encouraged by the growing support for the BID.”

The “Taste of the BID” is expected to run until the end of the year, with cleaning ambassadors in the area every day of the week from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. The services will cover Roosevelt Avenue from 82nd Street to 114th Street and Junction Boulevard and 103rd Street off Roosevelt Avenue.

“New sanitation crews have already begun to make a difference along Roosevelt Avenue through cleaner and brighter streets,” said Rob Walsh, commissioner of the NYC Department of Small Business Services. “By providing this neighborhood with a taste of what a BID can offer, this commercial corridor will only continue to get stronger.”

 

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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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Three wanted for Corona jewelry store robbery


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

jewelry robbery

Police are looking for three men wanted for robbing a jewelry store in Corona last month.

According to the NYPD, on December 19, around 2 p.m., two of the suspects, masked, entered Elegance Jewelry Store, located at 37-56 Junction Boulevard, while a third suspect held the door open and acted as the lookout.

Inside, the two men displayed a firearm and forced the store employees to the rear of the location. Next, they smashed the display counters,  took  approximately $80,000 in jewelry and fled the store.

All three suspects are 25 to 30 years old. The first suspect, the lookout, has a medium build and was wearing blue jeans, a black waist-length coat, light colored hat and glasses.The second suspect was wearing blue jeans, brown waist-length blazer, beige hat and brown shoes. The third suspect was wearing a black leather jacket, black pants and black hat with a “Mitchell and Ness” logo.

Anyone with information in regards to this incident is asked to call Crime stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477). The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime stoppers website at WWW.NYPDCRIMESTOPPERS.COM or by texting their tips to 274637 (CRIMES) then enter TIP577. All calls are strictly confidential.

 

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