Tag Archives: Union Turnpike

Pedestrian struck in Forest Hills hit-and-run

| asuriel@queenscourier.com

Photo via Google Maps

Police are searching for a driver who struck a pedestrian crossing Union Turnpike on Sunday evening in Forest Hills.

The victim—a man in his 30s—was crossing the turnpike near a Super Stop & Shop grocery store when he was struck by a burgundy Jeep with New York license plates at around 9:45 p.m., according to cops.

The driver fled the scene of the incident shortly after the accident.

Authorities said the victim was taken to Jamaica Medical Center in critical condition with head trauma injuries.

The incident is still under investigation.


Man killed in two-vehicle crash on Grand Central Parkway

| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYPD

Updated 4:32 p.m.

A car crash Thursday night left a 19-year-old dead and sent three others to the hospital after a driver struck another vehicle on the Grand Central Parkway, according to police.

The accident happened at about 11:50 p.m. near Union Turnpike, cops said.

A Nissan Maxima was driving westbound in the parkway’s middle lane directly behind a Honda Accord when it attempted to change lanes and hit the side of the Honda, authorities said. The Nissan then lost control and struck the guardrail before overturning.

The driver of the Nissan, 19-year-old Andy Ramdhanie, of Holis, was pronounced dead at the scene.

Three of the Honda’s occupants, a 57-year-old and 23-year-old woman, and a 20-year-old man, were taken to Long Island Jewish Medical Center with minor neck and back pain.

The investigation is ongoing, cops said.





Fresh Meadows residents, pols worry about sinking street

| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre

Residents and politicians are complaining about a cracked and sinking street in Fresh Meadows and are calling for the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to repair it.

The middle of 179th Street between Union Turnpike and 75th Avenue has sunk a few inches after underground support for the roadway collapsed, which residents have been complaining about since last May.

Local politicians and civic leaders said the issue is getting worse and it creates a problem for pedestrians and drivers. Councilman Rory Lancman and Assemblywoman Nily Rozic will hold a press conference Monday to rally the DEP to fix it.

“DEP needs to figure out what’s going on in a timely matter, and homeowners shouldn’t be penalized,” Rozic said. “The DEP needs to take responsibility.”

Cars driving on the street avoid the noticeable dip in the road and vehicles are parked at a slanted angle, the Courier observed during a recent trip to the site.

The city agency has examined the collapse and found that its sewer line underneath the road is not the problem, but it may be a leak from a resident’s private sewer line that caused the issue, Community Board 8 District Manager Marie Adam-Ovide said at a recent meeting. The DEP is currently trying to find the source of the problem.

“DEP has not identified any issues with the city’s water or sewer infrastructure and we have also investigated a number of private water and sewer service lines,” a spokesperson for the agency said. “There are also a number of private lines we have not been able to gain access to. Once we identify the source of the cave-in we will ensure repairs are made and the street is repaired.”

The DEP has made quick fixes to the sinking street in the past, but residents are upset that they have had to deal with the problem for so long. During the press conference elected officials are expected to urge the DEP to find a long-term solution.

“We want things to happen sooner [rather] than later, and it took a long time for it to [get] to this point,” Adam-Ovide said.





Man stabbed in face at Kew Gardens subway station

| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons/David Shankbone

A man was stabbed in the face during a dispute at a Kew Gardens subway stop Sunday afternoon, cops said.

The argument took place on the Union Turnpike station’s E train platform at about 2:15 p.m., according to police.

After the suspect stabbed the man, he fled and boarded a bus. Police stopped the bus, but he took off again on foot, cops said. The NYPD, using its canine unit, was eventually able to track the 35-year-old suspect to a backyard, and apprehend him.

The 26-year-old victim was taken to Jamaica Hospital in stable condition, according to officials.



Four Queens streets among region’s most dangerous for pedestrians: report

| ctumola@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/File photo

As Mayor Bill de Blasio and other local leaders push to lower traffic deaths, a new report has identified four Queens roadways as some of the most dangerous  for pedestrians in downstate New York.

The analysis, from the Tri-State Transportation Campaign, a nonprofit policy watchdog organization, found that from 2010 to 2012, Woodhaven Boulevard had the most pedestrian deaths with eight fatalities.

It was ranked sixth overall out of 12 counties in downstate New York and the second worst in the city, behind Broadway in Manhattan.

Tied with the 14th most deaths were Union Turnpike, Queens Boulevard and Northern Boulevard, which had five fatalities each.

Union Turnpike and Queens Boulevard, nicknamed the “Boulevard of Death,” were new to the list this year.

Over the weekend four pedestrians, including a 7-year-old girl, were struck in a hit-and-run at a bus stop on Northern Boulevard and 48th Street.

An 8-year-old Woodside boy was killed on his way to school in December when a truck driver, who was operating his vehicle on a suspended license, hit him at the intersection of 61st Street and Northern Boulevard.

On Jan. 15, with the child’s family at his side, de Blasio launched his Vision Zero initiative at the boy’s school.

The mayor and his administration is launching an interagency working group, together with the NYPDDepartment of TransportationDepartment of Health and Mental Hygiene and Taxi & Limousine Commission, to implement the plan, which aims to reduce traffic fatalities to zero within the next 10 years.

Nearly 60 percent of pedestrian fatalities occurred on arterial roadways, multi-lane roads that often have speed limits of 40 mph or more and little pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure, according to the Tri-State Transportation Campaign analysis.

“These findings make it clear once again that we need to redesign our most dangerous arterial corridors,” said Paul Steely White, executive director of advocacy group Transportation Alternatives. “We can save lives by building complete streets with protected bike lanes, wider sidewalks and pedestrian safety islands.”




SUV hits, kills pedestrian in Bellerose

| ctumola@queenscourier.com

An early morning accident in Bellerose Saturday left a pedestrian dead, police said.

A 2011 Ford Expedition struck an unidentified male about 6:50 a.m. near the Cross Island Parkway and Union Turnpike, according to the NYPD.

He was taken to North Shore-LIJ where he was pronounced dead, police said.

The 69-year-old driver remained on the scene and the NYPD’s Highway Patrol Collision Investigation Squad is investigating, police said.



Community board OKs rezone for part of Union Turnpike

| mchan@queenscourier.com

Renderings courtesy of Richard Lobel

A split community board narrowly approved a proposal last week to rezone a portion of Union Turnpike.

The controversial rezoning plan would allow developer Sam Zirkiev build a four-story residential and retail structure at 158-15 Union Turnpike. It barely cleared Community Board 8 last Wednesday, with a nail-biting 17-14 vote.

“It was definitely nerve-wracking,” Zirkiev said. “In the end, I’m happy with the outcome. Hopefully, it’ll get some more business and shopping in the area and more tax revenue. I’m hoping it’ll be an asset to the community.”

The now vacant land near Parsons Boulevard was once part of St. Joseph’s Hospital, which shuttered in 2004. Zirkiev bought the plot in October 2009, according to Zirkiev’s attorney, Richard Lobel.

A rezoning would allow Zirkiev to build a 68,850-square-foot building as tall as 40 feet, the attorney said. The developer’s plans include three floors for residential units, ground floor commercial use and roughly 80 underground parking spaces.

Under current zoning rules, developers can build a 10-story community facility building, shaped like a pyramid, within 70,500 square feet of the site. However, its height would be capped at 35 feet if residential units are planned, Lobel said.

Zirkiev reiterated his lack of interest in building the pyramid-like structure that would likely house medical offices — but he said he could, if rezoning plans are rejected.

Board member Kevin Forrestal said this was a “scare tactic” used to sway the board.

“We’re making more and more problems for ourselves, and we’re not addressing the infrastructure,” Forrestal said.

Attorney Richard Lobel shows Community Board 8 two renderings of proposed buildings. (THE COURIER/Photo by Melissa Chan)

Many board members said rezoning is a better deal.

“That lot needs development. It’s been ugly for years and years and years,” said board member Martha Taylor. “There’s no green there. It is a brown lot. I think this is the best deal we can get.”

The community board’s advisory vote now goes to Borough President Helen Marshall for approval. It then needs to be passed by City Planning and the City Council.

Marshall, who has 30 days to make her determination, held a public hearing last Thursday. According to her spokesperson, she had not made a decision as of press time.




Teen crashes into Queens building after fleeing car accident

| ctumola@queenscourier.com

An 18-year-old Brooklyn man has been arrested for fleeing the scene of a Queens car crash and driving into a building just a few blocks later, said police.

Around 1:15 p.m. Sunday, March 3, Steven Rodriguez struck a vehicle at Woodhaven Boulevard and Union Turnpike, then sped off. His getaway attempt ended when he crashed into the first floor of a residential building located at 78-80 82nd Street, off of Myrtle Avenue.

Coincidentally, Rodriguez ran into a building directly across the street from the home of the passenger in the car that he just hit, according to the New York Post.

Only moments after witnessing Rodriguez plow into the building, Enza Giordano, the 13-year-old passenger’s mother, received a call from her brother, who was driving her son at the time of the crash.

“He told me about his accident and that my son was hurt. He described the hit-and-run car and I knew — same guy,’’ Giordano told the New York Post.

In addition to leaving the scene of an accident, Rodriguez has been charged with reckless endangerment and reckless driving, said police.



Suspects wanted for assault aboard ‘E’ train

| mhayes@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of the NYPD

The NYPD is seeking the public’s assistance with the whereabouts and identifying individuals wanted in connection to an assault aboard the “E” train at the Union Turnpike station.

On Thursday, January 24 at approximately 4:45 p.m., three Hispanic males assaulted a 19-year-old male by punching and kicking him. EMS responded and brought the victim to an area hospital in serious but stable condition.

The alleged attackers are suspected to be between 15 and 19 years old and 5’5″ to 5’8″ in height.

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.

$1,000 reward for lost Queens dog

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Ramiro Fúnez

A Queens man is offering a $1,000 reward for his missing 4-year-old Siberian Husky.

The dog, Rocky,  is described as medium-sized, 45 to 50 pounds with light brown eyes and is very friendly and energetic. He was not wearing a collar when he went missing and is not micro-chipped.

Rocky’s owner last saw him on Wednesday, August 8 at 167th Street and 81st Avenue very close to the St. John’s University campus in the Jamaica/Hillcrest section of Queens when he ran off while they were taking a walk.

The same day, someone spotted Rocky near the corner of 164th Street and Union Turnpike.

If you find Rocky, please call Vicky and Ramon at:

Doe Fund coming to Union Turnpike

| mchan@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Melissa Chan

Fresh Meadows restaurant owner Ed Moore said the excessive litter and overflowing garbage cans along Union Turnpike were more than a mess — they were an embarrassment.

“It’s an eyesore, especially when St. John’s had their graduation, which was on Mother’s Day. There are 20,000 people coming to see their kids graduate from all over the country, and they’re going to come here and see this? That’s a reflection on us as New Yorkers,” said Moore, owner of the Sly Fox Inn.

Moore said the repulsive refuse problem along the area’s key commercial corridor was caused by too many fast food restaurants on the retail strip and not enough city sanitation pickup.

But residents and business owners can breathe easy after Councilmember James Gennaro allocated $30,000 to bring the Doe Fund to the garbage-strewn major street.

The Doe Fund employs homeless and formerly incarcerated individuals as part of a program fostering private employment and independent living, said Ray Damm, director of the fund’s community improvement project. Workers usually focus on litter removal from sidewalks and gutters.

“This is the great opportunity for people to build work experience while helping our neighborhood look its best,” Gennaro said.

The allocations also include an additional “green function,” the councilmember said, which allows workers to mulch and maintain sidewalk tree pits and collect used cooking oil from two local restaurants for recycling into biodiesel.

“We’re helping people who are looking for work. It’s such a great example of what New York City is about — focusing on local and helping people who need a little extra help. To me, it’s so symbolic of what has made this city great,” said City Council Speaker Christine Quinn.

Doe Fund services will cover the commercial district between 188th Street and Utopia Parkway, Gennaro said. The area will be cleaned three times a week in addition to already established city sanitation services.

“There will never be litter on the streets of Union ever again,” Gennaro said.

Pedestrian struck and killed on Union Turnpike

| brennison@queenscourier.com

A pedestrian crossing Union Turnpike was struck and killed just before 6 p.m. on Wednesday, February 29, according to authorities.

The victim was struck as he attempted to cross Union Turnpike in Oakland Gardens by a Volkswagen driven by a 24-year-old woman, police said.

EMS responded to the scene and took the 40-year-old victim to North Shore Hospital where he was pronounced dead on arrival.

According to crashstat.org, there have been 15 pedestrian injuries at the intersection of Union Turnpike and Springfield Boulevard since 1995, but no fatalities.

There is no criminality suspected at this time and the investigation is ongoing.