Local elected officials in the State Senate, City Council and Assembly have joined the chorus of concerned citizens who increasingly view Woodhaven Boulevard as Queens Boulevard South and a ticking time bomb.
The Department of Transportation(DOT) is being asked to implement short-term fixes that are believed to be essential, with a final traffic report that isn’t slated to be released until the middle of 2010. The DOT has said that they will be looking at possible fixes and will implement changes if it is an improvement.
The 112th Precinct, which responded to the tragedy in Rego Park, has moved to do what they can in the meantime.
Speaking at last week's Community Board 6 meeting, Sergeant Fioretti of the 112th Precinct started off by highlighting that crime is down 19.2 percent for the year, to cheers from residents and board members in attendance.
He then addressed the traffic concerns on Woodhaven Boulevard. Fioretti stressed that officers have increased their radar enforcement in an effort to catch speeding drivers. The death on Woodhaven Boulevard involved a 2000 Mercedes Benz that may have been speeding at 6 a.m. just before the morning rush.
“We’ve also assigned additional units to the boulevard to enforce hazardous violations,” he said.
Fioretti stressed that violations of the law are always enforced, but increased attention is being paid to things that residents may have gotten away with before. These include all red-light violations, as well as lane changing, following too closely behind another car, unsafe reversing, and obeying traffic markers and lines.
Fioretti also said that in an effort to make the area safer for pedestrians, officers have been told to enforce jaywalking violations. The woman who was killed crossing in the middle of the street, possibly to get to a bus.
Overall, summonses are up on the year. There have been 184 in the area for the year, including 138 for hazardous violations.
Speakers at the community board meeting said that Woodhaven Boulevard needs a complete restructuring to accommodate current traffic levels while maintaining pedestrian safety. The final report may suggest significant long-term projects to make the area safer. In the meantime, short-term fixes will be the only changes on the boulevard.