The busy intersections along Douglaston Parkway are up for a redesign after several requests from Community Board 11 members, according to a proposal by the city Department of Transportation.
Douglaston Parkway’s complex fork at its intersection with 43rd Avenue and 235th and 240th streets will be redone to increase pedestrian safety and reduce the speed of passing cars. The plan includes centralized stops at the intersection, new crosswalks, and re-routing access to westbound 235 Street via 43rd Avenue.
Community board member Douglas Montgomery, whose office is down the block from the intersection, said it’s time the dangerous intersection be addressed.
“Something has to be done very quickly because people are getting injured,” said Montgomery.
Two elderly seniors from Wellesley Gardens were hit at the intersection last year, he added. The local real estate broker went to the 111th Precinct and asked for patrol cars to be placed at the intersection.
“I have almost hit people that walk directly through the intersection,” Montgomery said. “While driving in the middle of the night, a man dressed in dark clothing walked directly in front of me. If I hadn’t paid attention, I would have hit him.”
Community Board District Manager Susan Seinfeld said that they are hoping to start something once the plan is approved.
“I generally feel that it’s a good thing to safeguard pedestrians with clearly marked intersections where they can cross,” she said.
The DOT plans to add pavement markings, concrete safety islands, new signage, painted surfaces and flexible delineators to the existing area that has multiple stops within a short distance and no crosswalk, where pedestrians walk in channelization.
Elliot Socci, president of the Douglaston Civic Association, said that the DOT’s proposal will increase pedestrian safety, but it won’t be effective enough for the proposed change of the intersection.
“They’re trying to do this at a minimal cost by ripping the land and using paint to change driving habits, that nobody will pay attention to coming to a complete stop,” said Socci. “The danger lies in adding a left turn in the middle of the five-way intersection that will cause more accidents where cars will not slow down.”
Socci said he is concerned the proposed design may or may not achieve the stated goal of pedestrian safety but will create future problems, and when it is addressed again the result will be a traffic light, which will clog traffic and infuriate the community. He added that the new design should include one more crosswalk, from the traffic island for residents from the Wellesley building to the west side of Douglaston Parkway.
“A child living on the west side of Douglaston Parkway would use this crosswalk to get to PS 98. DOT cannot require children to use the tunnel at the LIRR station to get to school,” said Socci.
The Queens Chronicle made numerous inquiries with the DOT but received no response as of printing.