2012-06-06 / Features

Protect Pedestrians, Drivers At Astoria Intersection

State Senator Michael Gianaris, Assemblymember Aravella Simotas and Councilmember Peter F. Vallone Jr. are working to increase safety at a busy intersection in Astoria. Following the recurring failure of all four traffic lights at the 31st Street and Ditmars Boulevard intersection, the three elected officials sent a letter to the Department of Transportation (DOT) requesting an immediate investigation into the functionality of the lights as well as remediation of all problem areas.

“I urge DOT to look into what is causing these traffic lights to fail so often and either permanently fix the problems or replace the lights completely in order to ensure the safety of passersby,” Gianaris said. “Relying solely on drivers’ and pedestrians’ use of caution as they cross these streets is foolhardy and unacceptable.”

The lights at this intersection have failed three times in the last two weeks which, combined with previous sporadic malfunctions of the lights, make this intersection extremely dangerous.

“The safety of our streets must be maintained,” Simotas said. “It is negligent to have this dangerous condition at such a busy intersection for a prolonged period of time. The DOT should be proactive and address this issue immediately and not wait until an accident or worse occurs in our community before taking action.”

And Vallone said, “This intersection is one of the busiest in Astoria.” Common sense dictates that the DOT monitor its equipment and ensure that continual malfunctions don’t occur.”

The 31st Street and Ditmars Boulevard intersection is a half-block from the last stop on the N/Q subway line and is surrounded by commercial businesses and bus stops, making it a high volume area for vehicular and foot traffic throughout the day. If the faulty traffic lights are not immediately fixed, crossing the intersection could have devastating and avoidable consequences.

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