Oct. 20, 2016 By Hannah Wulkan
The Department of Transportation will move forward with a revised plan to increase safety measures on 111th Street in Corona bordering Flushing Meadows- Corona Park, including adding parking spaces and a designated bike lane.
The proposal released yesterday builds off a 2015 suspended plan, despite the city procuring the full $2.7 million in funding.
The new plan would add a two-way designated bike lane to the street, increase the on street parking by 25 spaces, add 14 median tip extensions to decrease the distance pedestrians need to cross on the busy street, and reduce the number of lanes to decrease speeding.
However the new plan leaves out some changes proposed in the 2015 original plan. Instead of reducing the roadways to one lane in either direction, it reduces the northbound direction to one lane, while keeping two lanes open going southbound. It also does not add painted crosswalks to cross the street, as the initial plan did.
The announcement comes about two weeks after many community members and politicians rallied at City Hall on October 4 demanding that the plan announced in 2015 move forward, presenting the mayor with over 1,600 signatures in favor of increased safety measures.
“For too long, 111th Street has been a dangerous barrier for families visiting Flushing Meadows-Corona Park. Our community deserves safe streets and easy access to their local park,” said Council Member Julissa Ferreras-Copeland in a statement. “This phase of safety improvements will make one of New York City’s largest parks more welcoming to pedestrians, cyclist and drivers, all while adding 25 parking spaces.”
Increased safety measures were proposed on this strip after the DOT identified 111th Street as a Vision Zero Priority Corridor, with 23 pedestrian injuries, 24 bicycle injuries and 92 motor vehicle injuries on 111th Street between 43rd Avenue and Corona Avenue between 2010 and 2014.
“There is no doubt this plan will help save lives while making Flushing Meadows Corona Park more accessible and welcoming for the communities that surround it,” said Congressman Joe Crowley in a statement.
Assembly Member Francisco Moya expressed disappointment that the DOT’s revised plan was not as comprehensive as its original. Nevertheless, he said, he feels “confident that in the end we will have achieved greater safety in a way that our entire community can appreciate.”
The plan will now go before Community Board 4, though its decision is purely advisory.