We bring you a guest editorial, on a request that we made and briefly commented on late last year:
Almost 4 years ago this spring I got a letter from the DOT saying they assessed a need for a crosswalk at Center Boulevard and 47th Road and work would be starting soon. Shame on my filing system, but now I cannot find the letter and they have changed their tune to say there is not a need, whereas in my mind it has escalated from definite to desperate. I guess I trusted the DOT and trusted that the crosswalk work would actually be done, and threw out the letter. Silly me. The DOT letter to me was in response to a 311 call and online post I did back then.
A car doing highway speeds, whizzed by my 3 year old daughter and I crossing Center Boulevard at the point I mention above. Back then the boulevard only extended as far north as The View. Cars only had 1 block to ramp up speed. Now there are many more buildings on this street, and it extends down to the basin. So there is not only a much higher volume of cars, but also a longer strip for them to accelerate.
These are the major factors, but also layer on top a bit of blame to my own building: 47 20 Center Boulevard. Sorry TF Cornerstone, you’ve been excellent to us – and I probably should bring this to your attention. But the number of cabs, car services, delivery trucks, and resident vehicles double parking has also escalated. “Hack” cabs are allowed to loiter in front of our building all day long, awaiting a fare.
I am fine with all of it, as we too drop off groceries and call cabs ourselves. But the clutter of vehicles makes visibility to a pedestrian impossible. And due to the bend in the road roughly in front of the View, a person literally has to cross almost to the yellow line in the middle of the street before you can see clearly down Center Boulevard.
Loitering cabs should be shooshed away and/or told not to park past (any further south) than the fire hydrant. That is where the bend in the road is and where visibility clears up.
But again, the main reason for the danger at 47th road, is the volume and speeds of cars. At that intersection there should very definitely be a crosswalk, and in fact a speed bump with yellow signs approaching. This does not just benefit tenants of 4720, but all residents. This is a main passageway to and from Gantry Park (“Rainbow Playground”) to the west, as well as a main trek to and from Food Cellar and Duane Reade.
Three years after my original note and call, I followed up in June of last year and was told the point did NOT warrant a crosswalk. (See attached letter dated 11/19.). Ridiculous. This is why I am kicking myself for my woeful filing system. Oh if I could find that actual letter from the Spring of 2010: we could “hold them to it!”
So what are next steps? CB2 Debra Markell Kleinert, has indicated they will put it on the transportation agenda with the DOT. Jimmy Van Bramer’s office has written letters – see attached to and from the DOT back in September/October this past year. Gianaris during his summer LIC outpost meetings at the Irish Center has also promised to attend to this.
What can YOU/WE do? TFC residents: speak to management about the loitering cabs and putting up a clear line south of the fire hydrant of where cars can and cannot pick up or drop off.
All LIC’ers – go to 311 online, text or call to lodge a complaint. Use personal experiences as examples. Attend a CB board meeting – 1st Thursday of every month in Sunnyside. Sign up to speak – I’ve heard they will give you 3 minutes to speak if time allows. Email or write local politicians who can help: JVB, Gianaris, etc…
Me: I plan to speak w/ my landlord, TFC, continue to check in w/ JVB, Gianaris, and CB2 who I have previously communicated with on this. I also plan on attending the next CB2 meeting that I can. I will speak and write to any party who can give this issue more press, and therefore more pressure.
Although LIC as is great in many ways, I’m really becoming tired of living in a neighborhood where we have to fight for the basics: school playgrounds, on-going subway service and now crosswalks. A crosswalk is simply 2 painted lines – why can’t this be done in a week or a month? Why all the red tape and stalling on the part of the DOT? Aggravating!
And yes, there are many points along Center Boulevard that could “use” a crosswalk, but the 47th road point in particular truly should be first on the list, as well as warrant a speed bump. Is a protest in order? Picket signs, rallies, publicity? What to do to get action?
I can speculate that the unfortunate accident of a Woodside 3rd grader (only 1 year older than my own daughter) killed crossing a school-area street has put a spotlight on this issue. Let’s not have any other tragic accidents in Queens or any new ones here in LIC. Let’s exercise some prevention and take care of this now.
Please take 5 minutes out of your busy day and send an e-mail, make a call, text/call/write 311. Thank you to all my friends and neighbors in LIC for your time and attention to this matter.
All the Best,
One additional point on this: 98% of the drivers on Center Boulevard are conscientious and overcompensate for the complete lack of guidance(no crosswalks, speed bumps, speed limits, stop signs, or “Yield to Pedestrian” signs). This leads to an ambivalence and false sense of security by local pedestrians. Combined with the ambiguity of the crosswalk/no crosswalk/criss-crossing at 47th Road, and the 2% of indifferent drivers, is a recipe for a fatality.
In the meantime, remember that in light of no guidance, cars have the right of way, even at the quasi-crosswalks made of stone. Exercise caution. -The Editor
In addition to Bea’s recommendations for action, there also will be a Town Hall Meeting on Monday, January 27 at 7pm. It will be held in the lounge at 47-20 Center Boulevard and is free if you sign up in advance at http:licjointtownhall.eventbrite.com. Jimmy Van Bramer, Joe Conley(head of CB2), Lisa Atkins(rep from Melinda Katz’ office), Captain Brian Hennessy(108th Precinct), Jennifer Manley(Director of Queens Library) will be there, and it will be hosted by Dr. Moitri Savard. All the hot topics will be discussed: TRAFFIC, schools, library, lack of donut shop choices in the neighborhood. It’s BYOB, but milk ‘n cookies will be served.
Finally, if you do attend the meeting, don’t forget to congratulate Jimmy Van Bramer on being named majority leader of the New York City Council. From the press release:
“As part of my duties as Majority Leader, I have been appointed by the Speaker to co-chair the newly constituted Budget Negotiating Team (BNT) which plays an integral role in formulating the City’s budget process to fund critical programs, projects and organizations citywide.”
Hoo-boy, get your wish lists ready!
Borough of Death: Queens Has Highest Fatalities for Pedestrians in 2013 – how ironic, timely, and hopefully not tragic in 2014
Jimmy Van Bramer to Be Named Majority Leader – confirmed!
Silvercup Studios to Get Adjacent 44-Story Tower – more change for the Court Square skyline. 345 residential units, expected completion before 2017
Demand for Doormen Skyrockets in Queens – due to all the new towers. It’s a virtuous circle!