BY LUIS GRONDA
Woodhaven Boulevard finds itself among the most dangerous roads for pedestrians, according to a report released last week.
The major thoroughfare, which runs from Ozone Park to the Queens Center Mall, had eight pedestrian fatalities between 2010 and 2012, the most for any major street in the Borough.
The report was released by the Tri-State Transportation Campaign, a non-profit advocacy group that petitions for better transportation safety throughout New York and surrounding states.
The group released its annual report on pedestrian safety and listed fatalities for each borough in New York City and town in New York State, as well as New Jersey and Connecticut.
The report said 38 pedestrian fatalities occurred in Queens in 2012, three more than the previous year. A total of 115 fatalities occurred in Queens during the three years measured by the group’s report.
Along with Woodhaven Boulevard, Queens Boulevard, often called the “Boulevard of Death,” had five pedestrian deaths during that time period. Two other major thoroughfares, Northern Boulevard and Union Turnpike, also had five fatalities. Those two streets, along with Woodhaven Boulevard, were also on last year’s report released by the same group.
Martin Colberg, president of the Woodhaven Residents Block Association, said the report is very concerning for him and many residents who walk on Woodhaven to get from one side of the avenue to the other.
“It’s definitely not the best thing to have a title for,” he said.
Colberg added that some safety measure must be taken in order to make it safer for pedestrians. Among the problems in that area he discussed included the amount of time a pedestrian is allotted to cross the lane. According to a video posted by Project Woodhaven, a neighborhood advocacy group organized by former WRBA president Ed Wendell, residents are given 38 seconds to cross the 10-lane intersection.
Colberg said more time needs to be given to people crossing the street so that they are able to make it safely.
“It’s really not that time to cross,” he said, adding that the weather can add more time to people crossing the street. “Everything was iced up on the crosswalks and it takes more time to cross. The ice build up was probably three inches thick.”
In addition to the allotted time to cross the street, Assemblyman Mike Miller (D-Woodhaven) said cars making the left turn from Woodhaven onto Jamaica Avenue are also dangerous for pedestrians because cars often speed when making that turn. Miller said there needs to be time set aside for pedestrians to cross without any cars driving by and he has brought this up to the Dept. of Transportation in the past.
Both Colberg and Miller also said a sign identifying that pedestrians have died in that area in the past could also be helpful to alert pedestrians of the dangerous street, a sign that is in place on Queens Boulevard.
Reach Luis Gronda at (718) 357-7400, Ext. 127, firstname.lastname@example.org, or @luisgronda.