While it may not have been the central theme of his State of the City Address, Mayor de Blasio briefly touched on a subject concerning many Western Queens community members: his “Vision Zero” initiative.
The plan to eliminate pedestrian fatalities in New York City within five years was announced on Northern Boulevard, a corridor that has experienced many accidents, several weeks ago and Queens elected officials have been quick to volunteer areas in their district to be studied.
Most recently, Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside) joined state Sen. Mike Gianaris (D-Astoria), Assemblywoman Marge Markey (D-Maspeth) and representatives from Transportation Alternatives and Make Queens Safer near the intersection of Northern Boulevard and 48th Street — where a sedan recently mowed down five pedestrians — to ask de Blasio to incorporate Northern Boulevard into Vision Zero’s introductory year.
“It is no secret that Northern Boulevard is one of the city’s most dangerous roadways,” Van Bramer said last Thursday. “Thousands of pedestrians cross this busy thoroughfare every single day. Residents who live along Northern Boulevard should never fear being killed or seriously injured in their own neighborhoods.”
De Blasio plans to launch a working group to develop a road map for safer streets by Feb. 15. Each year, 50 corridors across the city will be chosen by the group where traffic calming measures are needed.
Van Bramer’s list of intersections along Northern Boulevard have either seen crashes and traffic fatalities or are considered by residents to be dangerous areas where crashes are likely happen.
The list includes the intersections of Northern Boulevard from 61st to 62nd streets, near where 8-year-old Noshat Nahian was killed by a tractor trailer on Dec. 20 last year, Broadway and 54th Street, 51st Street and Newtown Road, 48th Street and the intersections of Steinway and 39th streets.
According to a report from the Tri-State Transportation Campaign, Northern Boulevard is one of the deadliest roads in the tri-state area.
Between 2010 and 2012, six people were killed along the busy corridor.
Woodside in particular has seen some of the highest pedestrian fatalities in the borough.
Since October, seven people have either been killed or seriously injured by a vehicle in Woodside and Van Bramer has hosted several rallies and press conferences asking the Department of Transportation to review thoroughfares in the area. Until the Vision Zero plan was announced, the agency showed no sign of conducting traffic surveys in the area.
“Our community knows very well that we are home to too many deadly streets, and Northern Boulevard is undoubtedly among the worst,” Gianaris said. “Recent months have seen multiple serious crashes along Northern Boulevard, including one that took the young life of Noshat Nahian. I am grateful for Mayor de Blasio’s attention to traffic safety, and I will not stop working for safer streets until Vision Zero becomes a reality.”