Two Events This Weekend Build on Momentum for Safer Queens Streets

Northern Boulevard is one Queens street with plenty of room for pedestrian improvements. Photo: Brad Aaron

Northern Boulevard is one Queens street with plenty of room for pedestrian improvements. Photo: Brad Aaron

There are a couple of events focusing on safer streets in Queens this weekend.

Make Queens Safer will host a pedestrian safety town hall Sunday afternoon, with Congressman Joe Crowley and Assembly Member Francisco Moya. Representatives from the 108th and 115th Precincts were invited to the meeting, along with DOT and the Department of Education.

“Pedestrian safety remains a top priority for our communities,” said Crowley in an emailed statement. “In response to the recent uptick in pedestrian injuries and fatalities, we are holding this town hall to hear from Queens residents and get their input on how to make our streets safer. I am encouraged by the advocacy from Make Queens Safer and I thank the organization and Assemblyman Moya for working with us on this very important issue.”

Queens had the highest number of traffic deaths of the five boroughs in 2013 — 93 people killed, including 52 pedestrians — according to a Transportation Alternatives analysis of NYPD crash data. Six pedestrians died and 152 pedestrians and cyclists were injured last year on Queens Boulevard alone, TA said.

On Saturday, TA will be tabling as part of its ongoing “Zero on Queens Boulevard” campaign, which aims to bring protected bike lanes, pedestrian improvements and Select Bus Service to the 12-lane street.

Northern Boulevard has also been called a “boulevard of death.” Make Queens Safer and TA joined City Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer and state electeds Thursday to call on Mayor de Blasio to include Northern Boulevard in the first round of Vision Zero safety improvements. “Northern Boulevard stands out as one of the most egregious speedways in Queens,” said Celia Castellan, organizer of TA’s Queens Activist Committee. In addition to engineering improvements on wide boulevards in Queens, Castellan said, the city needs more traffic enforcement and an expanded NYPD Collision Investigation Squad.

Tomorrow’s TA event will be at Queens Boulevard and 71st Avenue, in Forest Hills, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday’s town hall will be from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the Renaissance Charter School, 35-59 81st Street, in Jackson Heights.