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Several residents, children want stop signs and crosswalks on Center Boulevard

pressconferenceLICJune 1, 2014 By Christian Murray

The Department of Transportation continues to ignore calls from local officials and residents that stop signs and crosswalks are needed on Center Boulevard.

On Friday, elected officials and parents from PS 78 took to the streets with their demands and held a press conference calling for a safer Center Boulevard.

“Center Boulevard is one of the most highly populated areas in Long Island City with multiple schools and multiple parks…yet we don’t have a single stop sign, or speed bump or cross walk to slow down traffic,” said Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, during the press conference on the corner of Center Boulevard and 48th Avenue.

Van Bramer said that many drivers also treat Center Boulevard like a speedway, yet the Department of Transportation continues deny the community’s request to have traffic calming and pedestrian safety measures installed along the growing residential street.

Van Bramer, citing Police Precinct 108 data, said that there were five serious accidents on Center Boulevard during the first few months this year.

The DOT, however, has claimed on several occasions that traffic controls are not needed. The DOT’s opinion is based on traffic data it gathered on Center Boulevard in 2013 and various accident reports.

The department, however, has said that it will be conducting another study this summer that will take into account the number of parks and playgrounds. It will focus on Center Boulevard at 48th Avenue and 49th Avenue.

The DOT could not be reached for immediate comment late Friday.

Meanwhile, state senator Mike Gianaris, said: “This is one of the fastest growing stretches in New York and buildings are going up by the day…and not to have a single stop sign or a single light is insane and shows they just don’t get it.”

Van Bramer and local children, as a means to symbolize the need for such traffic calming measures, painted their own crosswalk on Center Boulevard and installed the so-called “People’s Stop Sign” at the corner of 48th Avenue and Center Boulevard, where PS/IS 78 is located.

“If we get a stop sign or a speed bump or crosswalks after a child is hurt…it is a failure,” Van Bramer said. “The point of good government is to avoid tragedies before they take place.”

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Just got my Learner's Permit

Whether it is enforced or not, stop sign or not, if there is a cross walk, the pedestrian has the right of way.

Chapter 11 of the handbook on the DMV site states:
Pedestrians are the highway users most at risk in traffic. As a driver, you must use extra caution to avoid colliding with pedestrians. Regardless of the rules of the road or right-of-way, the law specifically requires you to exercise great care to avoid striking pedestrians.

Remember also that pedestrians legally crossing at intersections always have the right-of-way. Do not pull in front of or behind them or to “hurry them along” – wait until they are out of the intersection. Elderly and disabled pedestrians may require extra time to complete their crossings.

Not that 311 does much when cab drivers (or other drivers) are in violation of the rules of the road, it’s still necessary to document every instance when you can.

Brian Howald

While crossing Center Boulevard at 47th Avenue, where a marked crosswalk exists, I was accosted by a cab who almost struck me. The driver claimed that since there was no stop sign at the intersection, he didn’t have to stop, despite the fact that I was halfway through the crosswalk and a turning vehicle was waiting for me to cross, blocking the path of the oncoming cab.

If drivers don’t know they have to yield at crosswalks, let alone are willing to yield to them, then we need stop signs yesterday.


I don’t know what the people above who don’t want more signs are smoking, but we desperately need REAL crosswalks and a speed limit signs. What is the speed limit? Who knows. I’ve lived in NYC for 20 years, I’m not an idiot, I’m not a “wild animal,” I’m a grown-up and I don’t play chicken with cars. People speed down Center like crazy – the cobblestones don’t start until 48th ave. It’s only a matter of time before someone gets killed, and it’s scary to cross the street.

Jeff Foreman

I live on Center Boulevard and we really do need traffic calming measures like stop signs and most especially crosswalk signs. There are crosswalks built in to the street, but obviously drivers do not recognize that they are there. If I had a young kid I’d be scared to death. This is just common sense; if nothing is done someone is going to get badly hurt or worse, and of course the increased building in the area will only increase traffic and the need for DOT action.


Unless you have a car mechanic in your pocket you are not speeding on cobblestones, JVB is just gasping for straws at this point, if he really wanted to make Hunters Point safe time to start ticketing all the bicyclists that abuse the law by riding the wrong way, not stopping at stop signs or lights, riding on the sidewalk, disobeying basic laws. If i drive a car i need insurance, but if i get hit by a bicyclists who pays my bills, not them. The city is in debt time for them to pay up.


Kids need to be more responsible – and parents especially need to watch their kids more and have them on lock down. I do not want more signs. Kids need to be more careful and stop running around like wild animals without proper adult supervision.

Brian Howald

Just four weeks ago, a driver decided that he did not need to stop despite the fact that I was in the crosswalk. He slowed to a crawl as I stood my ground and made him slow down. He then proceeded to use his vehicle to push me out of the way, running over my feet in the process. Last I checked, I have the right to cross, unimpeded, and cars must wait until I have crossed.

The reality is much different. Those fighting these simple design changes are only those who violate the law and have bullied pedestrians for far too long.

Pedestrians are often careless, like bikers, and drivers, but being careless should not result in death. A pedestrian may have his head up his/her ass, but that doesn’t give a driver the right to ignore the crosswalk. It only makes sense for pedestrians to pay attention, but drivers have a LEGAL OBLIGATION to do so drive carefully. That is the difference.


Vision0 is incomplete. It doesn’t do anything to address rampant jaywalking and improve defensive walking. I guess it’s politically incorrect to say anything bad about pedestrians?

Pedestrians cross without looking and crowd onto the street off the sidewalk. They also play chicken with cars (cars will win).

Yes, to better traffic calming, but both cars and pedestrians need to be careful.


Slightly off topic but I think 5th street is even more of a hazard. Crossing is down right dangerous. Driving as well. Drivers coming off the avenues don’t always realize that 5th street does not have a stop so they pull out in front of you.

For more than a year I have been hearing that they are going to change it be a one way street. The last I heard it was supposed to have happened over the school’s spring break. That has clearly come and gone. Wish I knew why it is being delayed.


You’d think in light of de Blasio’s zero pedestrian fatality initiative, the city would happily make a change. Bizarre.


Just this weekend an idiot decided to speed up as he saw that I was about to cross with my family. DOT better do something before there is a terrible accident.

In a Perfect World...

I have lived on Center for 3 years. I am extremely careful when crossing the streets. Anyone who lives here knows to be extra cautious because we have all nearly lost our lives trying to get to the market or Duane Reade. Too many cars speeding or blocking and double parking making vision even worse. It has only gotten worse as the neighborhood and parks grow. Please help us! Thanks so very much!


The city planners were on drugs if they couldn’t picture thousands of people dodging traffic. The sheer stupidity…etc., etc.


And when you think human stupidity couldn’t reach a higher level, you read the above comment; TJ stop using drugs; there are bad for your brain.


Have loved in the neighborhood for years and don’t think more government intervention is needed. Pedestrians need to pay attention better and parents be mindful of their children.


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