Thirty-three days after Angela Hurtado was struck and killed by an unlicensed driver making an illegal turn at the intersection of Grand Avenue and 69th Place in Maspeth, action is officially underway to prevent future incidents at the deadly crossing.
After meeting with Assemblywoman Marge Markey (D-Maspeth) and Det. Thomas Bell of the 104th Precinct on Jan. 30, the Department of Transportation will be installing a “qwick-kurb” at the intersection to further restrict drivers from making illegal left turns from 69th Place onto Grand Avenue.
Installation of the qwick-kurb, a two-part traffic separator made up of a raised strip that sits on the street and attached markers that are the height of the average car, on 69th Place hasn’t occurred yet because of the recent snowstorms, according to Markey’s spokesman Mike Armstrong.
DOT spokesman Nicholas Mosquera says that the DOT will also be surveying other dangerous intersections in addition to the crossing where the 68-year-old Hurtado was killed.
“There was an existing left-turn restriction at that intersection and DOT will be installing a qwick-kurb to further deter this restricted movement,” Mosquera said. “We will also continue to review this location and others nearby for additional potential improvements.”
According to a press release from Markey’s office, the intersection of 65th Place and 53rd Avenue in Maspeth will also be studied.
In addition to Markey’s meeting with the DOT, Community Board 5 District Manager Gary Giordano penned a letter, dated Jan. 31, to DOT Borough Commissioner Dalila Hall, asking for neck-down to be installed on 69th Place at the southwest corner of Grand Avenue, as well as additional signage.
A neck-down, an angled narrowing of a roadway featuring the extension of the sidewalk, is aimed at restricting the ability of a motorist to turn in a certain direction, much like a qwick-kurb.
“Our Transportation Services Committee ... recommends that the DOT implement measures to better safeguard pedestrians at this intersection,” Giordano’s letter reads. “Please expedite a study of this intersection so that measures such as these and others can be implemented to improve pedestrian safety,”
CB 5 member and community activist Dmytro Fedkowskyj is excited about the DOT’s involvement in making the dangerous intersection safer for pedestrians, but he expressed his displeasure with Markey, whom he is eyeing to challenge for her state Assembly seat, for not reaching out to him about the idea of installing a neck-down on 69th Place.
“We as a community should be encouraged by the support from DOT on this matter,” Fedkowskyj said. “The assembly member never reached out to me about my plan, but I’m ecstatic that DOT reacted to my thoughts through CB 5’s letter and other venues, and that something concrete is actually getting done to safeguard the interest of our community.”