BY JON CRONIN
A pedestrian-friendly redesign planned for the 108th Street and Horace Harding service road intersection in Forest Hills will be delayed for two years, Community Board 6’s district manager said.
As part of the Vision Zero plan to make the five boroughs more pedestrian friendly, the city’s Department of Transportation will place an island in the middle of the 62-foot crossing on 108th Street.
Frank Galluscio, district manager of CB 6, said that since roadwork is taking place in the area covered by nearby Community Board 4, the island would not be installed for another two years.
“They’re going to be there a while,” he said. “It’s only a safety thing, not a whole redesign.”
CB 4 District Manager Christian Cassagnol said that the Department of Environmental Protection is doing a “major reconstruction project” in the area. He said that the project would upgrade the capacity of a sewer pipe running along 108th Street and into LaGuardia Bay.
According to the DOT’s Vision Zero View website, which allows visitors to see the crash history of any street, the intersection of 108th Street and the Horace Harding Expressway has not had any accidents in the past several years.
However, Galluscio said that there is a fair amount of traffic at the intersection, and added that the site has become a concern since many children cross it on their way to PS 220.
“When the Mets are playing, that’s a shortcut to the parkway,” he said, adding that this caused increases in traffic. “Instead of being reactive, [the DOT] wants to be proactive.”
The DOT noted during a presentation at a meeting with CB 6 that the site is designated as a priority intersection under the Vision Zero program. The agency added that a pedestrian island statistically decreases pedestrian crashes by 46 percent and reduces vehicle crashes by 39 percent.
The DOT will also implement a leading pedestrian interval, which would give pedestrians a minimum seven-second headstart to cross the street ahead of turning signals. According to a report by the agency, “Pedestrians can establish right-of-way in the crosswalk and are more visible to turning vehicles.”
The agency’s intention is for the extra time to prevent crashes involving vehicles that are turning and pedestrians. The project would create no changes in traffic or loss of parking, according to the DOT.