Residents to March Along Queens Boulevard to Protest 'Dangerous Conditions'

By Ewa Kern-Jedrychowska on December 9, 2013 2:37pm 

 Queens Boulevard is the site of numerous fatal accidents.
Queens Boulevard is the site of numerous fatal accidents.
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DNAInfo/Nigel Chiwaya

QUEENS — A group of pedestrians, bicyclists and motorists will march along Queens Boulevard to protest what they call the dangerous conditions along one of the busiest and most hazardous streets in the borough.

During “Winter Wander,” scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 14, residents and activists will walk for about 2 miles along Queens Boulevard, from Broadway in Elmhurst, to 71st Avenue in Forest Hills.

Each location is where an accident occurred earlier this year, causing the death of three pedestrians.

On Sept. 21, Nisath Hossain, 58, died in a hit-and-run accident, when she was crossing Queens Boulevard on her way home from work at McDonald's on 71st Avenue.

Nearly two months later, on Nov. 11, two Elmhurst residents, Man Chit Cheng, 59, and Mu Wang Lin, 41, were struck and killed after a motorist lost control of his car and jumped a curb near Broadway, just blocks away from where the men lived.

“The purpose of the walk is to raise awareness about how dangerous Queens Boulevard still is and what needs to be done to fix it,” said Peter Beadle, a member of Transportation Alternatives Queens Activist Committee, which organizes the event.

The thoroughfare was nicknamed the “Boulevard of Death,” because more than 70 pedestrians were killed in accidents there from 1993 to 2001, according to statistics provided by the Department of Transportation.

A number of safety improvements have been introduced since then, including fences preventing pedestrians from jaywalking, modifying signals to provide more pedestrian crossing time and installing pedestrian countdown signals at more than 60 intersections, according to the DOT.

But transportation advocates say that the street continues to pose a danger and they are asking the city to give more space to pedestrians and bicyclists, as part of a redesign of the street.

“Some of these deaths that are still happening are preventable and there are ways to do it,” said Beadle, who said he would like to see more speed limit signs and traffic enforcement cameras along Queens Boulevard.

Earlier this year, the group started a petition drive to improve safety on the busy artery. The petition calls "for protected bike lanes, pedestrian safety improvements and Select Bus Service on Queens Boulevard,” and has collected about 2,000 signatures so far.

The group also plans to formulate their request to redesign Queens Boulevard in a letter to the DOT that will be send to the incoming de Blasio administration.

Before the walk, the group will discuss the history of the street, as well as the challenges faced by pedestrians, cyclists and motorists, during a meeting at New Life Fellowship Church on Queens Boulevard in Elmhurst.

“Winter Wander” will kick off on Saturday, Dec. 14, 2013, at 1 p.m. from New Life Fellowship Church at 8210 Queens Blvd., Elmhurst.

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