DOT to Review Traffic Conditions Near Site of Fatal Woodside Hit-and-Run

By Jeanmarie Evelly on October 2, 2013 9:41am 

Slideshow
 Luis Bravo, 19,  was struck and killed near Broadway and 58th Street in Queens on Saturday.
Queens Leaders Call for Traffic Improvements in Woodside
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WOODSIDE — The Department of Transportation will review traffic conditions on a busy Woodside street following the hit-and-run death of a 19-year-old mechanical engineering student last weekend, the agency said Tuesday.

Luis Bravo, of Jackson Heights, was struck and killed Saturday night as he was walking east on Broadway near 58th Street, cops said. 

The DOT said it plans to review conditions at that intersection as well as those along the length of Broadway between Northern Boulevard and 69th Street, according to a spokesman.

The agency will look at the timing of traffic signals as well as "the feasibility of other traffic calming measures" in the area.

Local leaders had held a press conference Tuesday at the intersection where Bravo died, calling on the DOT to implement safety improvements there.

"DOT needs to realize it is here to serve the people of this city, and not the cars of this city," state Sen. Michael Gianaris told reporters.

City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer said he had previously asked the DOT to review the timing of traffic signals along Broadway in Woodside in the spring of 2012, after a constituent complained that cars were speeding through lights that all turned green at the same time.

The DOT declined to make any changes then, Van Bramer said.

"They told us everything was working fine and no changes will happen here," he said.

In an e-mail, a DOT spokesman said the agency did review the signal timing last year at Van Bramer's request, but that no changes were recommended "given existing conditions at the time."

The DOT now plans to review that and other traffic conditions in the area again, "making use of the most recent data to assess signal timing and intersection controls," the spokesman said.

Edward Surmenian, 64, who lives just blocks from where Bravo was killed, said he frequently sees cars speeding down Broadway.

"Broadway is becoming a racetrack...no speed limit, no rules," he said, saying he's surprised a fatality hadn't happened sooner. "This neighborhood was waiting for a tragedy like this."

Bravo's death is one of several pedestrian deaths in western Queens recently. A woman was struck and killed while crossing the street in Queens Plaza on Sept. 15, prompting calls for safety improvements there as well. 

"We seem to have an epidemic of fatalities in western Queens," Van Bramer said, saying there have been five pedestrians or cyclists killed in his district in recent months.

Cops are still looking for the driver of the car that hit Bravo, described by police as a dark-colored sedan.

Family told DNAinfo New York that Bravo was a student at the New York City College of Technology, where he was studying mechanical engineering.

"He wanted to do so much with his life and now, nothing," his grieving mother said Sunday.

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