BY JAMES FARRELL
A Whitestone intersection will not receive a left-turn signal requested by state Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside), eliciting a frustrated response from the senator on Monday.
The intersection, located at 26th Avenue and Francis Lewis Boulevard, is dangerous and particularly difficult for drivers attempting to turn left onto 26th Avenue from Francis Lewis, Avella said. He explained that when the traffic picks up on Francis Lewis during rush hour, a long line of cars fills the left turning lane on the northbound side of the boulevard. Those drivers struggle to make the turn before the light turns yellow. And as traffic builds up, visibility becomes an issue, making the turns even harder.
“The situation is making people go through a red light and obviously creating a dangerous situation with the traffic that now has a green light,” Avella said. “The traffic will back up in the turn lane, maybe four or five cars, and maybe only two cars go through that yellow-red sequence. The rest have to stay there.”
A DOT spokeswoman suggested that the agency is receptive to a change at the location, explaining that while the location did not qualify for a left- turn signal, the agency was considering other safety improvements for the area, and plans to follow up with the community.
Avella said that he has been reaching out to the DOT since 2014 in an attempt to get the agency to install a left-turn signal, but hadn’t even received a response until recently, when the agency told him that it had completed an analysis and would not install the traffic light.
Avella isn’t the only one with concerns about the intersection.
Cyrille Kousiaris is an associate broker at Du Rite Realty, one of the businesses located at the intersection. She said that during her more than 11 years at the location, accidents have been a common occurrence and that, depending on the time of day, drivers may have to wait for up to three lights to change before being able to make a left turn. But it’s even worse for pedestrians crossing the wide four-lane boulevard, she added.
“You’re safer in a car,” she told the Queens Tribune. “There’s total disregard for people trying to cross.”
Reach James Farrell at (718) 357-7400 x 127, firstname.lastname@example.org or @farrellj329.