Sept. 3, 2014 By Christian Murray
The Department of Transportation has plans to introduce a number of pedestrian safety changes to several Court Square/Queens Plaza streets.
The department is focusing on the area that links Queens Plaza South to 44th Drive—bordered by 28th Street on the east and Crescent Street to the west.
The department is targeting several streets based on the feedback it has received from the Long Island City Partnership, community groups as well as colleges/agencies—such as the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.
The DOT plans to reduce the width of 28th Street by adding a center median as well as providing yellow markings that delineate where the buses should park.
The department also plans on increasing the size of the pedestrian island at the corner of 28th Street and 42nd Road—based on a request it received from the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene that is located on the block.
Meanwhile, the DOT also plans to bring changes to the corner of 44th Drive and Jackson Avenue—particularly where the long crosswalk is located.
The DOT, following a request from the Long Island City Partnership, plans to create a pedestrian island in the middle of 44th Drive as it nears Jackson Avenue—which would act as a halfway point for pedestrians crossing the street. Furthermore, it plans to extend the sidewalk on the northwest corner of Jackson Avenue (at 44th Drive) to reduce the distance in crossing the street.
The DOT also plans on bringing changes to Crescent Street (btw. 43rd Ave. and 42nd Drive), which is currently a one-way street that it views as particularly wide. The DOT wants to convert that section of Crescent Street into a two way street—as a means to increase traffic flow.
The plan also calls for converting Hunter Street from a one-way to a two-way between 44th Drive and 43rd Avenue. The change would result in the loss of 12 parking spaces on that strip.
The DOT said that the change would help the traffic flow better in the neighborhood, since motorists would be able to go from 44th Drive to Queens Plaza South.
However, Joe Conley, chairman of community board 2, is doubtful whether the conversion of Hunter Street (btw. 44th Drive and 43rd Ave.) to a two-way street is worth the loss of 12 parking spaces. He said that cars can go to Jackson Avenue to get on Queens Plaza South.
The plan still needs to be approved by Community Board 2, which is expected to vote on it Sept. 4.