April 17, 2017 Staff Report
The Department of Transportation unveiled a massive redesign and safety upgrade along a large stretch of Astoria Boulevard in East Elmhurst earlier today.
The redesigned area included over 10,125 square feet of concrete work, five new crosswalks, two new signals, eight new trees, one new leading pedestrian interval, and 78 upgraded or new pedestrian ramps along Astoria Blvd from 99th Street to Ditmars Boulevard.
“Astoria Boulevard has a vibrant mix of residential and commercial properties on a busy street that, for better and worse, is often busy with traffic for drivers using it as an alternative to the nearby Grand Central Parkway,” said Queens Borough Commissioner Nicole Garcia. “Safety of all road users is our highest priority, and with the support of our elected officials, we were able to make one of East Elmhurst’s critical corridors a priority for Vision Zero, continuing our commitment to making Queens streets safer.”
The ¾ mile stretch of Astoria Boulevard was ranked in the top third in Queens for serious crashes, and saw a pedestrian fatality in 2013 at the intersection of Astoria Boulevard and 103rd Street.
To increase safety and function in the area, DOT added two new signalized intersections along Astoria Boulevard at 103th Street and 100th Street, installed a new left turn bay at 108th St to improve access to East Elmhurst, improved various medians to shorten crossing and improve ADA access, added street trees and landscaping, and removed evening rush-hour regulation on the south side of Astoria Blvd, creating afternoon parking for approximately 120 spots in front of commercial businesses.
“Astoria Boulevard is a vital strip for residents of East Elmhurst. It’s where we worship and shop. It’s where our parents and grandparents come to spend their mornings at Elmcor Senior Center, and soon it will be the site of a middle school. I thank Department of Transportation Queens Borough Commissioner Nicole Garcia and her team for prioritizing the safety of our residents and making changes that not only make it easier to traverse this street, but also respond directly to the feedback of the community,” said Council Member Julissa Ferreras-Copeland.
The design phase for additional safety improvements is expected to begin this year with funding from Ferreras-Copeland’s office, and construction is expected to begin in 2020.