A vote of confidence for 111th St

The community board 4 meeting for the DOT Safety improvements for 111th is tonight. You can call CB4 to express support at this number- 718-760-3141. The safety plan was established after 111th was given Vision Zero priority status due to a high rate of crashes and injuries to pedestrians, cyclists and vehicle operators. However, the board has never acted on the original plan or the modified one the DOT has researched and vetted.

The streetscape of 111th has changed in these years. The DOE has gone forward with added trailers to PS. 28, and adding UPK seats to the New York Hall of Science.  Both places have unprotected crossings for young children and their caregivers.

During this time, also, a new stadium was built at Flushing Meadows Corona Park which will bring excessive vehicle traffic to the area. Included in that plan was a relocation of a road. Last year, the USTA US Open was a disaster for pedestrians and cyclists. 

Yet, pedestrians are expected to fend for themselves. They are the neighbors and locals who use the park daily, yet their safety remains up to chance and their own vigilance. The crossing distance is currently 94 feet. The safety improvements will reduce that, and include wider pedestrian islands as refuge. Currently, there are three lanes of traffic, for what DOT has surveyed as just 400 cars per hour on the average day. Misuse of the road, by speeding and lane changing causes motor vehicle crashes like this one from January. It’s right at an intersection where refuge islands are recommended. (photo by Delia Trufino)

As advocates, we’ve done our due diligence. We’ve attended every meeting, done our own research, written elected, and even travelled to City Hall. We have witnessed injuries and crashes and know the real affect of dangerous streets. Because we are observant and asking the questions, we can say that many in our communities have been injured by reckless drivers and poorly designed streets. We have witnessed and documented many crashes over the years. Yet the legwork, commitment and continued pleas are secondary to those who currently hold the power.

Another stakeholder is Assemblyman Francisco Moya, who has consistently chosen to play politics with this safety concern, making it a hot potato at the community, city and even state level. It’s in the article. However, we asked Assemblyman Moya about the status of his support at his recent town hall in Jackson Heights. (recorded by Juan Restrepo)

We expect anything can happen at tonight’s meeting. There has been pandemonium at the Queens Blvd vote, and a recent uproar over a board member’s comments. There’s the possibility of making it a closed meeting in order to discuss the discipline or suspension of the board member as per the community board handbook guidelines on governance.  The board has also declined to vote on the DOT proposal, and a recent presentation was to a transportation committee of just two members. It’s the responsibility of the district leader to make sure the board has available information. We sure hope they follow the protocol of other boards like CB1 and CB5 who have distributed the full DOT bike, plaza and street design plans to attendees of their meetings.

We hope that CB4 will vote for a civilized roadway for all users. This safety improvement will extend medians, slow down the road and add protected bike lane. As any commuting cyclist in Queens will tell you, we see these improvements all over the city, why not here? Why not?