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As Center Blvd traffic grows, public demands safety measures

Doris Nowilla-Suda

Doris Nowillo-Suda outside Riverview Restaurant on Center Boulevard

Dec. 24, By Christian Murray

Elected officials and community leaders are putting pressure on the Department of Transportation to put in crosswalks and increase signage on Center Boulevard as a means to protect pedestrians.

“The volume of people crossing the street continues to increase,” said Joe Conley, chairman of Community Board 2. “There are more residents in the area and the area is becoming a destination, with tour buses bringing people in to look at the great views of Manhattan.”

The recent opening of Hunters Point South Park, the rapid rate of development and the opening of new schools continues to see pedestrian and vehicular traffic rise, officials said.

“We have asked for cross walks, signs, lights down there for years…and they have not granted them,” said Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer.

At a Transportation Committee meeting held by Community Board 2 earlier this month, Conley raised the issue with DOT Queens Borough Commissioner Dalila Hall, arguing that Center Blvd is dangerous.

Hall said that Center Boulevard did not require ‘stop controls’, since not enough motorists and pedestrians use it. These findings were based on DOT studies.

But Conley said after the meeting that DOT had to respond to the real experts and they are the people who live and work in the community, not people who go there and take a cursory look.

Doris Nowillo-Suda, who manages Riverview Restaurant & Lounge on the corner of 49th Avenue and Center Blvd, said that there is a real need for speed bumps, signage and cross walks.

She said she had noticed a lot more foot traffic–as well as cars–since the opening of Hunters Point South Park.

There have been some stones put down by 49th Avenue/Center Blvd. to create the sense of a cross walk, Conley said. However, drivers have little idea that it is there and don’t slow down, he added.

Conley said it is time for the DOT act. “People have complained for years about this,” he said.

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5 Responses »

  1. 5th st is even worse. So narrow and two way traffic. Need a stop sign at 49th ave!

  2. It is now time to install traffic lights or at least stop signs and speed bumps on Center Blvd. Right now there is a dangerous mix of cars, taxis and trucks speeding from 51st to 46th Ave on Center Blvd while more and more pedestrians (many with dogs and/or strollers) are walking home. Pedestrians need to be protected by bringing down the speed on Center Blvd.

    I wonder if local politicians and DOT will do something BEFORE deaths occur or only after…

  3. This is an accident waiting to happen. In one intersection construction equipment idles and double parks while parents with strollers and dog-walkers dodge speeding cars that don’t even slow down when entering a blind corner.

    Maybe officials think it will be easier to go back and assign blame after the first fatality… think again; you will be held responsible. Fix this NOW!

  4. I’ve had TWO dangerously close calls with speeding cars crossing Center Blvd! I’m shocked an (elementary) school zone does not REQUIRE a reduced speed limit, stop signs and speed bumps! You would think the Board of Ed would have some pull. Unfortunately, it will probably take a tragedy for the DOT to take the necessary steps to keep pedestrians and young students safe. Shame on them.

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