Feb. 20, 2014 By Christian Murray
The Department of Transportation will be sending a crew of traffic engineers to Center Boulevard late spring to evaluate whether crosswalks are needed.
The roadway has become increasingly dangerous as the number of motorists and pedestrians has continued to grow with the surge in development and park space, according to residents, business owners and Community Board 2 leader Joe Conley.
Despite repeated calls, the DOT has rejected the community’s desire for crosswalks for years.
However, Queens DOT Commissioner Dalila Hall told Community Board 2 members Tuesday that the agency will study the area again in May/June and will reach a determination by the end of summer whether the boulevard generates enough traffic to warrant crosswalks.
Hall noted that while there is an appearance of crosswalks on some section of Center Blvd—they are mere decorative and are not recognized by the DOT.
Center Boulevard was last studied about 18 months ago, Hall said. She said the DOT plans to study it when the weather warms up but before school breaks for summer.
Joe Conley, CB 2 chairman, told Hall that it was important that DOT studied the street before the school year ends since PS 78 children cross the boulevard several times a day.
Meanwhile, Hall told the committee that the DOT aims to convert 5th Street (between 46th Road and 50th Avenue) into a one-way street during the spring recess, which goes from April 14 to April 18.
The DOT has said it has to do the job while school is out, since PS/IS 78Q is located at 46-08 Fifth Street.
However, Hall said that date may change if there are several development sites that have scaffolding covering the sidewalks (construction sheds). If that were the case, the next opportunity to do the conversion would be over summer while school is out.
“We are hopefully optimistic and are taking the commissioner at her word that the DOT will aim to do it in April,” said Joe Conley, after the meeting. However, he said, “I can’t understand why it can’t take place over a weekend.”