Tag Archives: Tenzin Drudak

Traffic study released on site of fatal LIC accident


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/ Photo by Angy Altamirano

More than a year ago, 16-year-old Tenzin Drudak was fatally struck while on his way to school on Thomson Avenue. Now, LaGuardia Community College has released a traffic study on the highly congested roadway, to help prevent another life from being lost.

The comprehensive analysis was led by traffic engineering firm Philip Habib & Associates and recommends three changes be made to the corridor to improve safety for students and faculty.

The first change calls for the widening of sidewalks along Thomson Avenue by getting rid of one of the eastbound lanes, creating a buffer between vehicles and pedestrians.

The other suggestions are creating sidewalk bulb-outs, or curb extensions, and modifying current signal timing at select intersections.

The recommendations were decided after measuring hourly traffic volume and assessing signal timing, lane markings and curbside parking regulations. The firm also reviewed accident data from the city’s Department of Transportation (DOT).

Last July, the DOT redesigned Thomson and Skillman avenues by closing the slip ramp and making it illegal for vehicles to make left turns from Thomson onto Skillman Avenue. New signs and plastic markers to limit left turns from Thomson Avenue to 30th Street have also been installed.

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

Thomas Avenue brings in a large amount of pedestrian traffic with over 50,000 students and 2,500 faculty and staff from LaGuardia Community College, located on Thomson Avenue, and more than 2,000 students from five nearby high schools, according to Dr. Gail O. Mellow, president of LaGuardia Community College.

“For years, LaGuardia has been concerned about the pedestrian and vehicular safety of its students, faculty and staff,” Mellow said. “LaGuardia urges the city to rapidly make the necessary improvements for both pedestrian and vehicular safety by making modifications on Thomson Avenue, between Skillman Avenue and Van Dam Street.”

 

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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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After fatal accident, community calls for safety


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/ Photo by Angy Altamirano

It didn’t have to end in tragedy.

Following the death of 16-year-old Tenzin Drudak, mowed down by a minivan outside LaGuardia Community College, students and residents asked the Department of Transportation (DOT) for what they say are much-needed street safety enhancements.

Drudak, a student at Applied Communications High School inside LaGuardia 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 the other five pedestrians hit were students from LaGuardia.
Public officials, students, school administrators, staff members and concerned residents gathered Thursday morning, March 14 in front of Drudak’s memorial at the intersection to voice their concerns and ask the DOT to take another look at the busy street and its safety conditions.

“No one should have to fear getting hit by a car on their way to school or work,” said Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer. “We need answers and we need solutions to make this place safer.”

Students at LaGuardia Community College started the “Petition to act on a safety concern with traffic issues” last July and sent it to the DOT with close to 500 signatures. According to Shah Amanat, president of the LaGuardia Community College Student Government, the DOT replied in November saying all signals were operating as designed and no changes were needed at the time.

“Please do something. We need safety. We need safety for the students, we need safety for the community, we need safety for staff and faculty members,” said Amanat.

Those in attendance asked the DOT to conduct a comprehensive safety and traffic study of Thomson Avenue and all side streets, put up additional barricades/barriers on the sidewalks and the adjustment of the timing of the street and crossing lights.

“We need them to come back and not say ‘everything is fine here,’” said Van Bramer. “We need the DOT to do this and do it now.”

Friends of Drudak also gathered to show their support for the street safety improvements and to remember their lost friend.

“I couldn’t believe it at first,” said Tenzin Samphel, 16, a student from International High School who best remembers his times beatboxing while Drudak rapped.

According to a DOT spokesperson, the fatal crash was the first at the location in at least six years and the safety enhancements that are under consideration include sidewalk extensions at the intersection and other “significant improvements.”

“Safety is always DOT’s first priority and the agency was already working with LaGuardia Community College to improve pedestrian safety and access at this location as part of the college’s planned expansion,” said the DOT spokesperson.

 

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