Tag Archives: Northern 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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New Jackson Heights metal benches along Northern Boulevard


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo Courtesy Councilmember Daniel Dromm

Residents and visitors walking along Northern Boulevard now have 13 new spots to take a break.

Councilmember Daniel Dromm announced he had allocated $7,000 for Community Board 3 (CB3) to remove broken-down wooden benches down Northern Boulevard and replace them with 13 new metal benches as part of the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) CityBench program.

“The new seating, through the CityBench program, replaced eyesores with benches the community of Jackson Heights can be proud of,” said Dromm.

The new Jackson Heights benches are located along Northern Boulevard between 80th and 90th Street.

“The benches were originally installed in the 1980s at the request of the now defunct Northern Boulevard Merchants Association,” said Giovanna Reid, CB3 district manager. “We decided to replace the benches because they were in severe disrepair and potential hazards. With the installation of the new CityBench, the appearance of Northern Boulevard has significantly improved.”

With the goal to make it easier to walk through the city for people of all ages, in 2011 the DOT launched CityBench, a three year program that would install 1,000 benches throughout the five boroughs. In the past two years, CityBench has installed more than 700 benches.

“CityBench is a pedestrian friendly, community driven program which is helping make Jackson Heights and neighborhoods throughout Queens more livable and walkable,” said DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan.

 

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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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DOT lifts parking restrictions along Northern Boulevard following complaints


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

JOHANN HAMILTON

The community has spoken, and they have been answered.

There have been increasing complaints from business owners as well as neighborhood residents that the parking restrictions on certain blocks along Northern Boulevard are more of a hindrance than a benefit.

Because of this, the New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) will be removing the 4-7 p.m. parking restrictions along the south curb of Northern Boulevard between Parsons Boulevard and Utopia Parkway.

“As part of our ongoing efforts to provide safety and transportation enhancements to the Flushing community, DOT recently removed the evening rush-hour regulation from the south side of eastbound Northern Boulevard between Parsons Boulevard and Utopia Parkway,” said Nicholas Mosquera, a DOT spokesperson. “This change, which was requested by Councilmember [Peter] Koo and also supported by the Community Board 7 Transportation Committee, will provide additional parking for the community and customers of nearby businesses during these hours, while retaining loading areas for local deliveries.”

The current regulations have become an issue because they prohibit parking during prime shopping hours, making it more difficult for residents to find spots.

“It was frustrating for me personally because I could never park my car in that area while I was at work,” said Malik Johnson. “The parking restrictions started at 4 and most people get off at 5, so we’d wind up having to park much farther away.”

The actual process of changing the parking regulations, which will take about two weeks, began on August 26. In addition to these changes, there will be spaces to accommodate commercial vehicles so that businesses can still receive and send out their deliveries.

“I want to thank the Department of Transportation for concluding its study and agreeing to change the parking regulations along Northern Boulevard, from Parsons Boulevard and Utopia Parkway,” said Koo. “After numerous meetings with local merchants, it was clear that the previous regulation was adversely impacting their businesses. With the change of this regulation, it will allow the customers to park and frequent these local businesses.”

 

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Identify this place in Queens


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

identify

Do you know where in Queens this photo was taken?

Guess by commenting below!

The answer will be revealed next Friday.

 

Last week’s answer to “Identify this Place”:  Douglaston Parkway near Northern Boulevard

Drunk driver going wrong-way on Van Wyck slams into van with 13 teens


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

A Maryland man accused of driving the wrong-way down the Van Wyck Expressway while intoxicated and hitting a van filled with teenagers has been charged with reckless endangerment and operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, announced Queens District Attorney Richard Brown.

The incident occurred around 2:00 a.m. Sunday morning near Northern Boulevard. During that time, 34-year-old Jose Chimbo, of Baltimore, allegedly drove his 2004 Nissan Murano head on into a van with 13 teenage passengers who were being driven home from a party.

At the scene, Chimbo allegedly told officers that he had a few drinks.

According to a family member of one of the teen passengers, one of the teenage girls was seriously injured and required surgery. She broke the bones surrounding her eyes and her arm, and suffered a concussion and bleeding in her skull, he said. A parent who was also a passenger in the van suffered broken ribs.

“All of the kids sustained injuries in one form or another and many are now dealing with the emotional fallout of being involved,” said the family member.

Chimbo remains hospitalized with a broken leg and other injuries.

He faces up to seven years in prison if convicted.

 

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Police release video of Queens child luring suspect


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYPD

The NYPD has released the video of the suspect and the Escalade he used to try to lure two Queens girls.

On Friday, January 25, around 7:00 a.m., the suspect drove alongside a 13-year-old girl walking on Northern Boulevard near 102nd Street in Corona. He engaged the teen in conversation, but, realizing she did not know the man, the victim walked away from his car. The suspect then exited his vehicle, approached her once again as she walked away and grabbed her by arm.  The victim pulled away from him and fled.

Later that day, around 8:00 p.m., the suspect, operating the same vehicle, drove alongside a 14-year-old girl near Northern Boulevard and Parsons Boulevard in Flushing, and motioned her to approach the car. When she did not come towards the vehicle, the driver continued to follow her, but the victim did not comply and fled.

Authorities describe the suspect as a Hispanic male, 30 to 35 years old, 5’7″ to 5’9″ tall and 170 pounds. He was wearing a black jacket, dark pants and a blue collared shirt, and driving a late model Cadillac Escalade.

The police also released this sketch of the suspect and photo of his vehicle earlier this week:

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.

 

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Man wanted for trying to grab teen girls off streets of Queens


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYPD

Police are looking for a man wanted for trying to lure two teen girls off the street in two separate incidents last week.

On Friday, January 25, around 7:00 a.m., the suspect drove alongside a 13-year-old girl walking on Northern Boulevard near 102nd Street in Corona. He engaged the teen in conversation, but, realizing she did not know the man, the victim walked away from his car. The suspect then exited his vehicle, approached her once again as she walked away and grabbed her by arm.  The victim pulled away from him and fled.

Later that day, around 8:00 p.m., the suspect, operating the same vehicle, drove alongside a 14-year-old girl near Northern Boulevard and Parsons Boulevard in Flushing, and motioned her to approach the car. When she did not come towards the vehicle, the driver continued to follow her, but the victim did not comply and fled.

Authorities describe the suspect as a Hispanic male, 30 to 35 years old, 5’7″ to 5’9″ tall and 170 pounds. He was wearing a black jacket, dark pants and a blue collared shirt, and driving a late model Cadillac Escalade.

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.

 

The suspect was driving this late model Cadillac Escalade during both incidents.

 

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Man sought in five Queens larcenies


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYPD

The NYPD is asking for your help in finding the man wanted in connection with five larcenies:

  • On Saturday, July 21, the man entered a location on Kissena Boulevard and removed a purse containing credit cards, money, sunglasses, keys and other miscellaneous items.
  • On Wednesday, August 1, the perp entered a location on Roosevelt Avenue and took a cell phone from the counter.
  • On Tuesday, October 2, the perp swiped a cell phone from a location on 41st Road.
  • On Friday, November 2, another cell phone was taken from a location on Northern Boulevard.
  • On Monday, November 26, the man took money from a woman’s purse on Maple Avenue.

Police say the suspect is a Hispanic man, 30 to 40 years old, 220 to 300 pounds, 5’10”-6’ tall, large build and casually dressed.

Anyone with information in regards to these incidents 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.

 

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Teen killed by dump truck in Jackson Heights


| brennison@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Robert Stridiron

A teenage boy was struck and killed by a dump truck in Jackson Heights this morning at the intersection of 80th Street and Northern Boulevard.

The accident occurred at approximately 8:45 a.m. when the rear wheels of a white dump truck towing a green generator hit the teen as it turned onto Northern Boulevard from 80th Street.

The victim was pronounced dead on the scene.

The truck did not stay at the scene, though it is not certain if the driver knew he struck someone. Police are searching for the vehicle.

The victim is yet to be identified.

 

Flushing fire truck accident injures seven


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

An accident Monday night involving a fire truck and another vehicle sent six firefighters and one civilian to the hospital, said the FDNY.

According to Firehouse.com, around 9:45 p.m., at Northern Boulevard and 150th Street, a fire truck from Ladder 129 collided with a garbage truck. It wasn’t clear whether the FDNY vehicle was responding to call at the time of the accident.

Four of the individuals involved in the accident received serious injuries and three major injuries, said the FDNY, but could not specify if the civilian was among those in more serious condition.

Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

TODAY’S FORECAST

Tuesday: Overcast with a chance of rain. High of 63. Winds from the NE at 5 to 15 mph. Chance of rain 30%. Tuesday night: Overcast. Low of 55. Winds from the NE at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 20%.

EVENT OF THE DAY: Meet the Candidates

St. John’s is holding a Meet the Candidates night from 7 p.m.to 9 p.m. at the Belson Moot Courtroom in the School of Law, where candidates for the New York State Legislature will take part in a public forum to discuss issues of importance to college students and the local community. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

 Grand jury probe likely in shooting

New York Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly on Monday said a grand jury would have to decide whether criminal charges are warranted in the fatal shooting of an unarmed motorist in Queens last week by a detective. Read more: Wall Street Journal

Four teens killed in horrific car crash on Long Island; teen at wheel only had learner’s permit

They died on Dead Man’s Curve. Four Queens teenagers were killed Monday when their car — driven by a 17-year-old with only a learner’s permit — sped off a treacherous stretch of a Long Island highway and wrapped itself around a tree. Read more: New York Daily News

Churches battle liquor store next door

Two churches in Queens are now in the middle of a nasty battle because of what’s in the middle between them. Read more: ABC New York

Residents upset over calls that accuse State Senate candidate of supporting Muslim radicals

Joseph Concannon is a relatively unknown Republican State Senate candidate but he’s created an uproar in the 11th district. Bayside residents like Andy Rothman are crying foul over a Concannon robocall that accuses incumbent State Sen. Tony Avella of supporting Muslim radicals. Read more: NY1

U.S. meningitis cases mount from thousands of patients at risk

More cases of fungal meningitis tied to contaminated steroid shots are expected to be confirmed on Tuesday, U.S. health officials said, and some patients who received the injections may have to wait weeks to know if they are infected. Read more: Reuters

Sandusky to learn sentence in child sex abuse case

Jerry Sandusky will learn what penalty a judge considers appropriate for the 45 counts of child sexual abuse for which the former Penn State assistant football coach was convicted in June. Read more: AP

Kids crossing dangerous thoroughfares for class


| aaltman@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Alexa Altman

Proposed rezoning plans might send tots trudging across a treacherous stretch.

The Department of Education (DOE) announced plans earlier this month to shift students in School District 30 to alleviate overcrowding in elementary schools in Jackson Heights, Elmhurst and Corona. Currently, the four existing elementary schools in this area — P.S. 228, P.S. 148, P.S. 149 and P.S. 127 — each serve an average of 200 students over capacity. The DOE’s initial plan involved kids crossing Astoria Boulevard, to lighten the load at P.S. 127. A revised plan sent a different group of students zoned for P.S. 148 over Northern Boulevard.

Upcoming rezoning in School District 30 is also to incorporate a new school, P.S. 329, which is set to open in Corona in 2013.

According to Jeff Guyton, co-president of Community District Education Council 30 (CDEC 30), a three-block section of residences was accidentally overlooked during planning. Those children, who under rezoning would attend P.S. 228 instead of P.S. 148, would filter into P.S. 149 after second grade. In order to get to P.S. 149, those students would need to cross Northern Boulevard.

This discovery was brought to the attention of the CDEC 30 at a public meeting several weeks ago at P.S. 127 by a member of the United Federation of Teachers (UFT).

According to the DOE, currently eight students cross Northern Boulevard to attend school — the same number that would need to cross if the current rezoning plan goes through.

“Northern Boulevard was taken into consideration in various iterations of the plan,” said a DOE representative. “However in this proposal, we are also balancing the need to minimize the number of students crossing Astoria Boulevard.”

According to Guyton, many families want their children to continue attending P.S. 149 and do not mind crossing the busy street. Many parents, who were former students of the elementary school themselves, look forward to continuing the tradition and do not mind crossing the street with their children. Guyton also said there is a crossing guard posted at Northern and Junction Boulevard who assists pedestrians across the street.

Guyton said CDEC 30 is working in conjunction with the DOE’s Office of Portfolio Planning (OPP) to ensure children are not required to cross a busy street to get to school.

“We try to strike a balance between advocacy and cooperation,” said Isaac Carmignani, co-president of CDEC 30. “If we’re not collaborative and we’re not partnering, we’re not going to do the best.”

On Wednesday, September 26, the CDEC 30 met with members of the OPP to review several adjusted rezoning plans. While Guyton would not divulge the details of the plan, he assured The Courier that both groups are working together to create a plan that accommodates all students.

Queens’ Morning Roundup


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Five people killed, including two children, in fiery Queens SUV rollover horror

Five people were killed, including two children, after leaving a Nigerian heritage celebration in Queens early Sunday when their speeding SUV, swerving after blowing through two red lights, slammed into a concrete pillar, rolled over and burst into flames, police and witnesses said. Read more: [New York Daily News] 

Con Ed customers could pay for ’08 death blast

Ed customers could be slapped with part of the bill for a horrific 2008 gas explosion that killed a Queens man and left his daughter needing medical care for the rest of her life. The family of Edgar Zaldumbide won a $20 million settlement from Con Ed, according to documents obtained by The Post. Read more: [New York Post] 

Beach replenishment coming to Rockaway

Sand-starved sections of Rockaway Beach, battered by erosion and Hurricane Irene, could be replenished later this year, according to the city Parks Department. The Bloomberg administration made a last-minute $3 million allocation to the agency’s budget to pay for the project. The money will be used to transfer sand dredged from the East Rockaway Inlet by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Read more: [New York Daily News] 

Queens man dead after ATV crash 

A Queens man is dead after police say he crashed his ATV into a metal pole Saturday night. Investigators said 33-year-old Dave Thomas was riding his ATV on the sidewalk on Merrick Boulevard in Jamaica when he hit the pole. Read more: [NY1] 

Annual Colombian Day Parade held in Jackson Heights 

A sea of red, blue and yellow filled the streets of Jackson Heights Sunday for the annual Colombian Day Parade. More than 75,000 people lined the parade route along Northern Boulevard waving their flags. The sounds of cumbia and salsa filled the air, along with the aroma of traditional Colombian food and treats. Read more: [NY1]