2016-01-20 / Features

Upcoming Safety Improvements Along 21st Avenue


Councilman Costa Constantinides, Assemblywoman Aravella Simotas, state Senators Michael Gianaris and Jose Peralta, and city Department of Transportation Queens Commissioner Nicole Garcia announced upcoming safety measures along 21st Avenue in Astoria, the scene of many accidents. Councilman Costa Constantinides, Assemblywoman Aravella Simotas, state Senators Michael Gianaris and Jose Peralta, and city Department of Transportation Queens Commissioner Nicole Garcia announced upcoming safety measures along 21st Avenue in Astoria, the scene of many accidents. Councilman Costa Constantinides, Assemblywoman Aravella Simotas, state Senators Michael Gianaris and Jose Peralta, and city Department of Transportation Queens Commissioner Nicole Garcia announced upcoming safety improvements along 21st Avenue. Traffic lights will be installed in late April at the intersections of 23rd, 24th, and Crescent Streets.

These improvements come following community advocacy for a safer 21st Avenue. After the 2009 death of an Astoria resident on the corner of 21st Avenue and 23rd Street due to a car crash, a coalition of elected officials and the community members held rallies to ask for traffic safety improvements on 21st Avenue. In 2010, a speed bump on 21st Avenue and 26th Street was installed heeding calls for traffic safety, but no further steps were taken until now.

Currently there are only two traffic lights (at the intersections of 21st and 28th Streets) and no stop signs along the thoroughfare between the East River and 31st Street, a distance of two-thirds of a mile. This residential street is also a conduit for three schools, PS 122, St. John’s Preparatory, and Kid Krazy daycare center, with children crossing the street daily. The street’s width, lack of stop signs, and frequent speeding cause dangerous crossing conditions. Since 2009, there has been one fatality and dozens of injuries.

The officials were joined by Community Board 1, Astoria Park Alliance, local schools, and other groups.

Constantinides said, “I am proud that following our long advocacy campaign for traffic safety on this thoroughfare, these traffic lights will make 21st Avenue safer for pedestrians and drivers. We’ve come to know the street’s dangerous conditions all too well – dozens of injuries and a tragic death. Families have deserved better than the speeding and unsafe conditions that occur here every day. These new traffic lights will help ensure the safety of children who cross this thoroughfare every day to get to school and all residents who wish to cross at 21st Avenue. I thank DOT Queens Commissioner Nicole Garcia for her action and look forward to working with the DOT as these safety improvements are implemented.”

“Safety is our number one priority and we are happy to work with local partners to improve this community corridor,” said Garcia. “These new signals, coupled with last year’s reduction of the speed limit to 25 miles per hour, will enhance safety for all in the neighborhood.”

“For far too long 21st Avenue was the scene of accident after accident,” said Simotas, who advocated for the traffic lights. “Today, thanks to the efforts of Councilmember Constantinides, the Department of Transportation and, especially, community members, we can look forward to a safer community where students, young families and elderly residents can safely walk, drive or bike to school, to work or to shop. These traffic lights are proof that each of us can have a hand and voice in making our community better.”

“The installation of these traffic signals will do a great deal to improve safety for the schoolchildren and other pedestrians who cross at these intersections every day,” said Queens Borough President Melinda Katz. “Assemblymember Simotas, Councilmember Constantinides and Commissioner Garcia deserve to be commended for making the safety of our children a top priority.”

“These traffic safety improvements will ensure that each member of our community faces less risk of death or serious injury just by walking our streets,” said Gianaris. “These enhancements demonstrate our commitment to safer streets and the importance of making investments in our local infrastructure.”

“It is vital that we come together and keep pushing for measures that would improve road and street safety for everyone. We must ensure we do everything possible to reduce traffic-related deaths and injuries, and installing more traffic lights is just one step we can take to help achieve that goal,” said Senator Peralta (D-East Elmhurst). “I want to thank my colleagues Assemblymember Simotas, Senator Gianaris, Councilmember Constantinides and all those involved for their efforts to make the installation of additional traffic lights along this busy thoroughfare a reality. I also want to thank the DOT and Queens Commissioner Nicole García for installing the three traffic lights slated for this April.”

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