2000-02-23 / Front Page

Nolan: DOT Will Increase Pedestrian

Crossing Time On Queens Boulevard

Reversing previous denials to increase pedestrian crossing time on Queens Boulevard, the city Department of Transportation has informed Assemblymember Catherine Nolan that it will "implement on a trial basis a new timing plan" on a section of the boulevard in the Sunnyside/Woodside area beginning next Tuesday, Feb. 29th.

Responding to a letter from Nolan sent last September requesting timing changes because of the width of the boulevard, speeding traffic and frequent accidents, Queens Transportation Commissioner William Baier wrote:

"We have completed our evaluation and as a result will implement on a trial basis a new timing plan on Queens Boulevard between 32d Place and 48th Street during the off peak hours. The plan is designed to discourage speeding while still maintaining efficient two-way traffic flow and adequate pedestrian crossing time."

Baier did not say what the new crossing time would be nor what the present time period is.

Nolan, in saying she was not "completely satisfied" with the decision, noted that during the peak periods of the day, "it can take as much as four minutes" to cross the six to eight-lane roadway.

At another point in her correspondence with DOT, the Ridgewood Democrat noted she had read a published report dated last Aug. 1st which stated that "pedestrians are provided with 30 seconds of green time to cross" while vehicular traffic is given 78 seconds of green time." She cited one study which "suggested that more time and space could be allotted to pedestrians with only minor, if any, impact on traffic flow during peak hours."

Nolan, whose district includes Sunnyside and Woodside, said that for many years she and City Councilmember Walter McCaffrey (D–Woodside), along with Community Planning Board 2 and the Sunnyside Chamber of Commerce had advocated changes to increase pedestrian crossing time and pedestrian safety, but to no avail, until now.

In her September letter to city DOT head Wilbur Chapman, Nolan also noted the then-recent passage by the Assembly of a bill that would allow "slower speed limits as part of an effort to increase the use and effectiveness of the city’s traffic calming efforts." She said she had asked DOT to look into this.

—John Toscano

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