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Queens Chronicle

Dimly lit walkway worries pedestrians

No crime reported, but some are still spooked on 67th Ave. bridge

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Posted: Thursday, February 20, 2014 10:30 am | Updated: 11:20 am, Thu Feb 27, 2014.

It’s somewhere you wouldn’t want to bring your kids after dark.

That’s what one mother said as her young daughter raced from one side of the 67th Avenue pedestrian bridge to the other in Forest Hills on Monday to watch the trains race by on the tracks below.

With the sun setting, three dim lights located above the cage-encased bridge turned on, but the Forest Hills woman, who declined to give her name, ushered her talkative child off the bridge and onto Austin Street while pushing her infant child in a stroller.

She said she didn’t want to be there much longer.

“I don’t stay this late,” she said. “If you’re someone who wants to do bad, it’s the perfect spot to go ahead with your plan. You’re stranded here, it’s like a dark alley.”

While the lights may have turned on this time, the bridge, which spans the Long Island Rail Road tracks, often sits in darkness as the lamps either fail to turn on or don’t provide much light when they are on.

Located far enough away from both Burns and Austin streets, light from the street posts doesn’t adequately illuminate the bridge either.

A line of severe thunderstorms that spawned a tornado in September 2010 damaged the lights above the walkway, and they haven’t been fully functional since the twister, with the three small lights and a larger light pole on the Austin Street side of the bridge only working occasionally.

Community Board 6 Chairman Frank Gulluscio noted that residents have repeatedly called about the lack of lighting, but he hasn’t been able to give much of an answer as to why the problem is occurring.

“The lights seem to be going out a lot. There are concerns about lighting there,” Gulluscio said. “People have called about it. No one knows if someone is putting them out on purpose or if there’s a loose wire or what.”

In terms of pedestrian safety at the walkway, Gulluscio said he hasn’t heard reports of suspicious people lurking around or causing trouble in the area.

“There’s nothing serious going on there from what I’ve heard,” he said. “We’ll keep an eye on it though.”

Heidi Chain, President of the 112th Precinct’s Community Council, said in an email that she isn’t aware of any safety issues along the pedestrian bridge either.

“I have not heard about [suspicious people lurking],” Chain said.

Despite the lack of official reports of questionable activity at the bridge, the Forest Hills mother isn’t the only area resident concerned about traversing the walkway after dark.

Another hurrying pedestrian, who also declined to give his name, said that he feels the bridge “looks like a dangerous place at night,” while the Forest Hills woman made reference to a friend of hers who is frightful of the bridge.

“My good friend lives a few blocks away and she has to come through here to go to work, and I know she doesn’t like walking through here at all,” she said. “It’s scary in here, it’s like a cage.”

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