LIC community calls for traffic safety on Center Blvd.
by Jess Berry
Jun 05, 2014 | 507 views | 0 0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, Long Island city residents and students of PS/IS 78 put up their own "People's Stop Sign."
Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, Long Island city residents and students of PS/IS 78 put up their own "People's Stop Sign."
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Students of PS/IS 78 hold up handmade signs calling for traffic safety on Center Blvd in Long Island City.
Students of PS/IS 78 hold up handmade signs calling for traffic safety on Center Blvd in Long Island City.
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Despite huge residential growth in Long Island City over the past decade and numerous requests from local politicians, the Department of Transportation (DOT) has yet to install any traffic-calming measures along Center Boulevard, which has already seen five vehicular collisions in the first four months of this year.

With the help of students from PS/IS 78, Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer painted a crosswalk and installed the “People’s Stop Sign” on the corner of 48th Avenue and Center Boulevard as yet another call for action from DOT.

“Today we’re going to take matters into our own hands, because if the city won’t do it for us, we’re going to erect our own stop sign,” Van Bramer said. “The people's stop sign. The children’s stop sign. And if the city won’t make crosswalks, we’re going to make them ourselves, and we’re going to show how easy it is.”

All of these traffic-calming measures can be installed, he said, at very little cost to the city.

“What do we want? We want a stop sign. We want speed bumps. We want crosswalks. We want traffic calming, and we want Vision Zero to be a reality here on Center Boulevard today,” Van Bramer said.

Van Bramer, who has been petitioning for traffic calming measures in the LIC community for over two years, said he received a letter from DOT in April claiming that “crosswalks are generally not installed at intersections where traffic controls are not in place.”

“That is so wrong, it doesn’t make any sense,” Van Bramer said. “We need traffic controls to be in place and we need crosswalks.”

Van Bramer was joined by State Senator Michael Gianaris, who said the growth in Long Island City warrants stop signs and crosswalks, despite what DOT has to say.

“By any measure, what’s going on on Center Boulevard is astonishing,” Gianaris said. “DOT needs to get its head out of its manholes and look at what’s going on above ground and realize that this stretch of Center Boulevard is one of the fastest growing areas in the City of New York.

“To not have a single stop sign, a single light along this entire stretch of Center Boulevard is insane,” he added.

Center Boulevard runs in front of an elementary school, high school, two athletic fields and is an access road to the waterfront.

Community members have collected over 620 petition signatures from local residents asking for the installation of stop signs, speed bumps and visible crosswalks along the boulevard.

“We brought our family here almost ten years ago and we’ve seen hundreds of millions of dollars be pumped into private residences,” local parent Josh Lamberg said. “We’ve seen the city pump millions of dollars into a new waterfront, and the only thing we’ve seen them do as far as the safety of our streets is bring in parking meters. So they’re aware of the new revenue, and we need to make them aware of the safety issues here in Long Island City.”

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