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Dutch Kills residents express concern about dangerous traffic, demand prompt action

petitionJuly 18, 2013 Staff Report

Residents who live or work in the Dutch Kills section of Long Island City are demanding that the city take action to prevent traffic accidents.

The residents want the city to install traffic calming measures—such as stop signs, traffic lights and curb extensions—and to ticket those drivers who come speeding through the area from Northern Blvd and Queensboro Plaza.

State Senator Mike Gianaris, who held a rally at 39th Avenue and 29th Street yesterday, is calling on the Department of Transportation to conduct a study of the Dutch Kills neighborhood. He said that there have been six traffic accidents within a four block radius of 29th Street/39th Ave. in just the last two months.

“Thankfully no one has been killed but we don’t want to wait until someone does,” Gianaris said. “We call on the city to do the right thing.” He said the problem is only going to get worse since the neighborhood is growing, as new residents, hotels and businesses continue to come to the area.

He said that some of these accidents may have been prevented by simple traffic safety improvements like additional stop signs or curb extensions.

A residents group has formed to put pressure on the city. They have a petition drive on DutchKillsLIC.com, which calls for action.

Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, who attended the rally, told the residents that he had recently reached out to the Department of Transportation and voiced his concerns.

One woman who was watching the rally from her front steps was Joan Kehoe, a life-long Dutch Kills resident, who was struck by a car crossing 29th Street in 2011. The 77-year-old said that her femur was fractured and that part of here elbow had to be removed following the accident. She now relies on a walker to get around.

“This [traffic problem] has been going on for years,” Kehoe said.  “The cars go like crazy and nothings ever been done.”

She said, “I’m not hopeful that anything will get done this time either.”

For video footage of the problem, please click here.

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