On May 30 families in Long Island City, alongside NYC Council Majority Leader Jimmy Van Bramer, State Senator Michael Gianaris, and Community Board 2 Chairman Joe Conley, called on the Department of Transportation (DOT) to install traffic calming measures along Center Boulevard. To symbolize their call, Council Member Van Bramer helped several local children paint their own crosswalk and install a "People's Stop Sign" at the corner of 48th Avenue and Center Boulevard near P.S./I.S. 78.
Council Member Van Bramer has been trying for over two years to get DOT to install traffic signals, speed bumps, stop signs, and crosswalks along this thriving Long Island City neighborhood. In response to previous requests the Department of Transportation would continually state that, “crosswalks are generally not installed at intersections where traffic controls are not in place.”
“Too often drivers treat Center Boulevard as a speedway,” said Council Member Van Bramer. “For years the Department of Transportation has denied the community’s requests to have traffic calming and pedestrian safety measures installed along this growing residential street. Our concerns cannot continue to be ignored. Now is the time to act. We cannot wait until someone is killed or seriously injured.”
The need to install traffic safety measures is especially important to Center Boulevard, which runs in front of an elementary school (the aforementioned P.S./I.S. 78), high school, two athletic fields, Hunters Point South Park, and Gantry Plaza State Park. The NYPD's Motor Vehicle Collsions Report revealed that Center Boulevard had already experienced five vehicular accidents during the first four months of 2014.
Due to concern over the possibility of more traffic accidents occurring along Center Boulevard, around 620 local residents and families recently signed a petition calling on DOT to install traffic calming measures. To access and sign the petition, please visit this change.org website.
“Street safety needs to be a top priority for the City of New York,” said Cara Lamberg, Co-Vice President of P.S./I.S. 78’s Parent Teacher Association. “We cannot wait for a tragedy to force the Department of Transportation’s hand in installing safety measures on Center Boulevard. Our children deserve to be able to cross the streets safely to and from school. If the city builds the schools than it is the responsibility of the city to keep the students safe. Stop signs and visible crosswalks should not be an afterthought when it comes to planning our neighborhoods. For more than 10 years P.S./I.S. 78 has been positioned on Center Boulevard, which is a road that has no visible markers indicating to traffic that a school actually exists here. We need action from the Department of Transportation now before a child or pedestrian gets killed.”
“The DOT keeps saying that Center Boulevard does not need crosswalks or stop signs, but that is not good enough for the parents and children here today,” said State Senator Michael Gianaris. “One look around this neighborhood and anyone can see the growth reflected by the many people moving here to raise their families. Nothing is more important than protecting our kids, and that job is not done until they can get to and from school safely. I will continue working with Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer and the parents and students of Long Island City until the Department of Transportation comes to its senses and makes this street safer.”
Back in October 2013, Council Member Van Bramer and local families erected yet another informal stop sign in Queens, this time along 47th Avenue and 60th Street in Woodside.
Finally in other news, on May 28 Council Member Van Bramer honored seniors from his alma mater at Bryant High School's Annual Senior Awards Dinner held at Astoria World Manor. The event honors the students for their academic achievements and excellence.