CENTER BOULEVARD CROSSWALK: TODAY NOT TOMORROW!

SilverCup to get new neighbor

SilverCup to get new neighbor, and looks like they’ve already solved their traffic problem

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,

Bea Murphy

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 2013how ironic, timely, and hopefully not tragic in 2014


Jimmy Van Bramer to Be Named Majority Leaderconfirmed!

Avonte Oquendo Remains Verified


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 Queensdue to all the new towers.  It’s a virtuous circle!

15 thoughts on “CENTER BOULEVARD CROSSWALK: TODAY NOT TOMORROW!

  1. LICmom says:

    Long, long overdue. Thanks for speaking out and going on record Bea.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Hmm – I tried to sign up for the town hall meeting and it says it is “sold out”. Do you know of any other way to attend the meeting?
    I also worry about the traffic on Center Blvd and want to get involved – we need to get a couple of crosswalks along the street.

  3. Ctr Blvd Resi says:

    Bea’s correspondence w/ the DOT and the politicians response in not doing anything concrete is typical. They won’t seriously get involved until after something bad happens, at which point it’ll be press conference and protest city.

    • Go! says:

      Well maybe if we all follow Bea’s easy to do measures in lock step we can move the needle. If every reader of this blog called 311 it might just happen.

  4. Ro says:

    I have posted this in other blogs and I will post it again. We should collect money and put “stop for pedestrians” signs down ourselves in every intersection on Center. If we wait for the DOT to act it will probably be too late.

    http://www.emedco.com/stop-for-pedestrians-sign-cwss4.html

  5. Anonymous says:

    I can’t access the Town Hall Meeting link. Is it open to the public? Can I just show up?

  6. Anna says:

    Hi! Wonderful letter! Couldn’t agree more. FYI, after visiting the 311 site, I was directed to send requests for street safety improvements via this form:
    http://www.nyc.gov/html/dot/html/contact/contact-form.shtml

    • Chris says:

      Thanks for this post, and for this info, Anna. I just submitted a request — let’s flood them with forms, and see if anything happens.

  7. Clueless Joe says:

    I read and I read and I read, only to discover that Center Boulevard needs crosswalks.

    I did not know that!

  8. Anonymous says:

    The “Town Hall” meeting was organized by and for a few condos in the area, so NO it was not meant for the entire Hunters Point community.

    BUT – the fact that it quickly sold out seems to indicate further that this area near the water needs its OWN community board!

  9. Mikey from Queens says:

    Now that Van Bramer has been named Leader of the Majority on the City Council, I not only expect Stop signs on Center Boulevard, but it to be paved in gold.

  10. Anonymous says:

    I added my comments to DOT. Let’s flood them with our concerns.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Need to flood them with concerns or it won’t happen!

  12. Brian Howald says:

    Walking down Center Boulevard the other day, I noticed a faded white line at the southwest corner of the very intersection in question (47th Road and Center Boulevard). From what I can see, the last time they paved the street, they elected to REMOVE the existing crosswalk. Maybe we could go out and paint new lines? Like

    It’s a bit disingenuous for DOT to say no crosswalk is required at any location, since any non-signalized intersection in New York State has implicit, if not explicit crosswalks. Painting white lines at some, but not all intersections gives drivers the false impression that they are not required to yield at ALL intersections. Therefore, it should be policy to construct crosswalks at all intersections.

    I’ve been using the 311 app to target those drivers who continually park in the crosswalk at Center Boulevard and 48th Avenue with mixed success. However, I did meet with Captain Hennessy last night to discuss the problem. I was very pleased with his grasp of the need for greater traffic safety, especially his understanding that good street design is worth orders of magnitude efforts in enforcement. Additionally, traffic safety was one of the preeminent concerns at the town hall meeting last night. From what Councilman Van Bramer said, DOT has only been known to drag their feet on Center Boulevard safety. Hopefully the new administration better understands the need for pedestrian safety on our streets, many of which, like Center Boulevard, look like they’re designed for places far more car-dependent than New York.

  13. […] it was revealed back in late January, at the special condo-owners only Town Hall Meeting that we divulged, that the HP Library that was supposed to be completed in 2014, then 2015, then 2016, has now been […]

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