City to Boost Safety at Northern Blvd. Corner Where 8-Year-Old Was Killed

By Jeanmarie Evelly on April 1, 2014 3:52pm 

 The Department of Transportation is planning traffic safety changes to the intersection of Northern Boulevard and 61st Street where 8-year-old Noshat Nahian was fatally struck in December.
The Department of Transportation is planning traffic safety changes to the intersection of Northern Boulevard and 61st Street where 8-year-old Noshat Nahian was fatally struck in December.
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DNAinfo/Ben Fractenberg

WOODSIDE — The city will make traffic changes at a busy intersection on Northern Boulevard where an 8-year-old boy was killed on his way to school four months ago, officials said.

The upgrades, first reported by the Daily News, will go into effect this month at Northern Boulevard and 61st Street in Woodside, where third grader Noshat Nahian was fatally struck by an unlicensed driver in December while on his way to school nearby.

His death prompted calls for safety improvements at the intersection, near elementary school P.S. 152, where Mayor Bill de Blasio unveiled his "Vision Zero" plan to curb traffic deaths in January.

The changes at the intersection will include the installation of two pedestrian safety islands, changing signal timing to maximize crossing time for pedestrians and school crosswalks, which have special markings to alert motorists, according to plans released by the Department of Transportation.

The DOT will also remove the westbound left turn bay and signal on Northern Boulevard to eliminate conflict between pedestrians and cars in the southern crosswalk, according to the plan. Implementation of the changes will begin this month.

Noshat, a third grader, was killed the morning of Dec. 20, 2013 while walking to school with his older sister when he was struck by a truck as it turned onto Northern Boulevard, police said.

The incident sparked calls for safety improvements from elected officials and local leaders. City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer toured the intersection with transportation officials in January, and requested the DOT study and redesign the intersection.

He and other officials later called for Northern Boulevard to be included in the first 50 locations to receive safety upgrades under Vision Zero, citing Noshat's death and another crash in February at Northern Boulevard and 48th Street that left four pedestrians injured.

Last month, 64-year-old Kumar Ragunath was fatally struck by a hit-and-run driver while crossing Northern Boulevard at 41st Road in Long Island City.

In a statement, state Sen. Michael Gianaris hailed the DOT's plans for Northern Boulevard and 61st Street, adding that he wants to see similar efforts implemented on other dangerous roadways in western Queens.

"I am glad to see the city stepping up safety measures at this deadly intersection, though I only wish these plans had been completed before the life of Noshat Nahian was so tragically lost," he said."This is an encouraging step in that direction but we have far more to do to remove the dangers posed by our streets."

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