Ongoing construction on the Van Wyck Expressway has some residents of Briarwood feeling like collateral damage in the multi-year, $148 million first phase to revamp the Kew Gardens Interchange.
Dissatisfied with community meetings with state Department of Transportation representatives in the last year, residents will be taking a less traditional approach on Saturday, Aug. 25.
The Briarwood Action Network will host a rally at 11 a.m. at the newly opened entrance to the Briarwood-Van Wyck Expressway subway station along the Van Wyck’s service road to protest what members say is a lack of response to their concerns with the DOT.
“The New York State DOT and its partner agencies, including NYC Transit, made commitments to this community about safety they haven’t kept,” said BAN president Aida Vernon, in a statement issued by the group.
“Changes in the traffic patterns along Queens Boulevard because of construction have endangered pedestrians and motorists alike,” she said. “These agencies have been aware since last year of the community’s concern about crossing at the intersection of ‘The Boulevard of Death’ and the Van Wyck, just to catch the subway to get to work.”
She said they are looking for far better communication between the DOT and Briarwood residents.
The subway entrance was opened on Aug. 17. Construction has required the temporary or permanent closure of multiple subway entrances for residents to board the E or F train.
The DOT has made some changes to traffic lanes, crosswalks and other temporary measures during construction at the community’s request.
As for the new subway station, which residents have called inconveniently located, the state has installed a temporary traffic signal and a crosswalk at the Queens Boulevard-Wan Wyck service road, as well as temporary lighting.