May 24, 2018 By Nathaly Pesantez and Christian Murray
The Department of Transportation will be installing all-way stop signs at two Hunters Point locations after years of requests from the community.
The stop signs will be installed at the intersection of 50th Avenue and Center Boulevard, with the other location being where 50th Avenue and 5th Street meet.
The DOT’s plans come after the agency conducted a traffic study to the area this spring to see if traffic treatments could be implemented along the roadways.
“DOT had received requests for all-way stops signs at these locations from various elected officials and other local stakeholders,” a spokesperson for the agency said. “We are pleased that these latest studies found that all-way stop signs met the criteria and are recommended at both locations.”
The study, announced in March, also follows renewed requests made in prior months from Community Board 2, elected officials, and local leaders for the agency to implement safety measures along the roadways.
Most of the community’s concerns center on speeding cars, the growing population of the neighborhood, and the influx of people along Center Boulevard during the summer months. While the boulevard has a mixture of cross-walks and stop signs, many say that stop signs are needed at every intersection.
Albert Silvestri, Queens Deputy DOT Commissioner, said in March that the agency had heard the community’s demands “loud and clear,” and was looking to “throw everything we have” to address them.
Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer, who has held rallies along Center Boulevard calling for safety measures for over seven years, said the all-way stop signs are an important victory for the community.
“It is an important recognition by the DOT that we need to make Center Boulevard and other nearby streets safer,” Van Bramer said. “Every day there is not a full-way stop sign is another day people are in danger.”
Brent O’Leary, the president of the Hunters Point Civic Association, said he too viewed the announcement as a victory
“We think it is a great step in making our neighborhood safer, especially with the school nearby,” O’Leary said. He has had several meetings with the DOT to address pedestrian safety on Center Boulevard.
Van Bramer said that there is still more work to be done. Center Boulevard, for example, needs clear, painted crosswalks for pedestrians in its cobble stone portions.
“They are not marked or striped in any way that is familiar to pedestrians in the city of New York,” Van Bramer said. “The DOT needs to get creative with how to treat them and mark them.”
The DOT has said that paint work on the cobble stones is a tricky issue, given the cobble stones themselves.
The DOT also said in March that it was looking into whether 5th Street can become a full one-way street after a request from Community Board 2. The street is almost entirely one-way, except for a two-block portion toward Borden Avenue.
It is unclear if the agency has concluded their study into turning 5th street to a full one-way.
The DOT did not respond to additional questions on when the stop signs will be installed and whether it is still studying making 5th street entirely one-way by press time.
Update 5/24, 4:56 p.m. : Article updated with DOT statement.