2010-05-12 / Features

Vallone Calls For Added Safety Measures At Astoria Intersection

By Liz Goff

City Councilmember Peter Vallone Jr.City Councilmember Peter Vallone Jr.City Councilmember Peter Vallone Jr. is calling on the Department of Transportation (DOT) to overrule itself and install a traffic slowing device at an Astoria intersection.
DOT Queens Commissioner Maura McCarthy wrote to Vallone in March, stating that the city did not recommend a traffic signal at the corner of 21st Avenue and 23rd Street in Astoria, despite the fact that a local resident was struck by a car and killed there on Nov. 12, 2009.
DOT had already ruled that the intersection is inappropriate for installation of a speed bump because 21st Avenue is a bus route.
Vallone vowed at a rally at the site that he would keep the pressure on DOT to increase safety at the intersection. “There’s  a school just a few blocks away,” Vallone said. “There have been a number of accidents here and neighborhood residents feel that some sort of traffic device is needed at the intersection.”
Area residents said 21st Avenue is an accident waiting to happen because the strip is devoid of traffic signals for a span of six blocks from 21st to 28th Street.
Two schools, P.S. 122 and St. John’s Prep, and the Kid Krazy Day Care Center are located within a seven-block radius of the site, residents said.
Vallone said in 2006 he requested a DOT traffic study of the intersection but despite agency promises the study never materialized.
The Astoria lawmaker continued to call for a traffic device at the intersection in a November 30 letter to DOT where he said, “with the profusion of new construction in the area, the population has increased dramatically in the last few years”.
In McCarthy’s response to Vallone, she said the agency took the increase in vehicular and pedestrian traffic, sign visibility and the number of accidents at the site into consideration in its most recent study of the site, and determined that no further action is required.
Vallone was joined by area residents, Assemblymember Michael Gianaris and Astoria’s Community Board District Leader Costa Constantinides at the rally, where Constantinides said the community was not calling for any particular traffic device at the site.  “Further safety measures should be installed here”, Constantinides said. “Whether it’s a traffic signal, stop sign or speed bump.”

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