Northern Blvd

Marla Diamond/WCBS 880

City Taking Steps To Make Northern Boulevard Safer For Pedestrians

October 10, 2018 - 8:09 am

NEW YORK (WCBS 880) -- One of the most dangerous roads in New York City will be getting a number of safety changes in the coming months.

Northern Boulevard in Woodside has become so hazardous that it's been dubbed the borough's new “Boulevard of Death.”

One month ago, a hit-and-run driver stuck and killed a 70-year-old man trying to cross the road at 109th Street.

In April, 9-year-old Giovanni Ampuero was killed when he was crossing the boulevard at 70th Street with his mother.

According to the Department of Transportation’s, 327 pedestrians and 150 cyclists have been reported injured along Northern Boulevard since 2012. Over a dozen have been killed.

"This is a number that breaks our hearts," said Department of Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg.

In light of the death toll, City Council members called for a complete redesign of the boulevard to make it safer.

Safety improvements the DOT has made have obviously not been enough, said Trottenberg who  announced traffic safety improvements including pedestrian islands between 70th Street and 92nd Street – where the majority of deaths have occurred on the road, and curb extensions, which are designed to slow down traffic.

"So we are ready now to take even a bolder look at this, but as you heard from the electeds and the advocates here, we need to work with the community and get it right. In some ways, this street is even more challenging than Queens Boulevard," Trottenberg said.

The DOT will be holding four workshops this month in Jackson Heights, Astoria, Woodside and Long Island City.

Traffic safety advocate Christine Furlong with the group Make Queens Safer is urging everyone who has to cross the dangerous road to show up.

"We need people to care and people to understand that we can fix this, that they're not accidents," Furlon said.

The NYPD  has already begun a seven-week high visibility enforcement program along the entire 11-mile stretch of Northern Boulevard. 

Vision Zero ambassadors were at the busy intersection of 52nd Street and Northern Boulevard on Wednesday morning handing out cards urging drivers to slow down and pedestrians to only cross with the light.