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.”