It is heartening to see the growing media attention to traffic-calming efforts in Queens in the wake of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s announcement of the Vision Zero initiative to end traffic deaths in New York City.
In Astoria, a new coalition of organizations, including churches, schools, resident associations, and our group, the Transportation Alternatives Queens Activist Committee, is calling for common sense safety solutions on 21st Street, a multi-lane highway used by trucks traveling between Queensboro and Triboro bridges that cuts right through a densely populated residential area with many children and senior citizens.
Over the past year, I’ve heard so many concerns, from seniors and mothers with small children who don’t have enough time to cross the street, to businesses asking for repaving so their employees don’t slip on ice that forms in deep potholes right outside their door.
There are far too many intersections that don’t even have a crosswalk, forcing pedestrians to walk another full block or jaywalk just to get across the street!
The 21st Street community has thrown its full weight behind the growing Coalition for Traffic Calming on 21st Street, which now counts 22 nonprofit organizations, 20 businesses, and over 1,400 individuals among its supporters.
Thankfully, our newly elected council member, Costa Constantinides, has made this project a priority, calling on the Department of Transportation (DOT) to conduct a traffic study.
At a recent press conference, he was joined by other elected officials — State Senator Michael Gianaris, Assemblywoman Aravella Simotas, and Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer — and Community Board 1 Transportation Committee chair Bob Piazza to call for urgent DOT action.
We trust that these officials will continue to do everything in their power to turn 21st Street into a safe, welcoming street for all.
Transportation Alternatives Queens Activist Committee