Astoria Pol Demands Emergency Lanes on Queens Boulevard
QUEENS — City Councilman Peter Vallone Jr. wants Queens Boulevard — one of the most dangerous and congested streets in the borough — to have emergency-services lanes, just like many streets in Manhattan, to make sure the path is clear for emergency responders.
“Manhattan has emergency lanes everywhere and as far as I know Queens has none,” Vallone told DNAinfo.com. “Traffic on Queens Boulevard is as congested during rush hours as on any street in Manhattan.”
The pol, who is considering running for Queens borough president next year, sent a letter to the Department of Transportation last month, asking it to create one emergency lane along the entire length of Queens Boulevard in each direction, from Queensboro Bridge to Jamaica Avenue, as first reported in the New York Post.
Vallone said the issue caught his attention after he spoke to a local ambulance volunteer group who said they had trouble navigating traffic on the route.
He also said that because of the thoroughfare's high rate of pedestrian fatalities (72 were killed trying to cross Queens Boulevard between 1993 to 2000), traffic on the road had been intentionally slowed down: the lights are not synchronized and service road is down to one lane.
“When you slow down traffic like that, you also slow down emergency vehicles,” Vallone noted.
Vallone said he had not received any response yet, but a DOT spokesman said Tuesday in an email that “we'd consider a request for this or other street changes in conjunction with FDNY.”