Part of Dangerous Jamaica Street Being Made One-Way

By Ewa Kern-Jedrychowska on June 6, 2014 8:46am 

 Hundreds of people attend the Jamaica Muslim Center on a daily basis.
Hundreds of people attend the Jamaica Muslim Center on a daily basis.
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Jamaica Muslim Center

QUEENS — Part of a busy thoroughfare in Jamaica Hills, used daily by thousands of high school students and members of a local mosque, will be soon turned into a one-way street, after a serious accident occurred there earlier this year, officials said.

The new safety measures, which will also include a speed bump, are planned for a portion of 168th Street between Highland Avenue and Gothic Drive, according to Councilman Rory Lancman.

“We’ve been asking for traffic improvements for many years,” said Lancman, who earlier represented the area in the State Assembly.

The street is home to the Jamaica Muslim Center. According to Akhter Hussain of the center, approximately 500 people attend the center every day.

Thousands of students from nearby Jamaica High School and Thomas A. Edison Career and Technical Education High School also walk on the block every day, Hussain said.

“It’s like a playground,” Hussain said. He noted that the street is very narrow and speeding cars also pose significant danger, especially because "children trying to cross the street often don’t look both ways.”

In April this year, a 16-year-old boy, who is a member of the center, was hit by a speeding car, Hussain said. The boy, who suffered multiple fractures and a brain injury, is still recovering, he said.

There were several other crashes in the area, Lancman said.

Lancman said that with the Vision Zero initiative under way, the Department of Transportation finally approved the safety measures.

"Following a request from local elected officials, DOT studied and determined that the one-way conversion of 168th St. between Highland Ave and Gothic Drive is feasible from a mobility and safety perspective," said Nicole Garcia, a spokeswoman for the DOT, in and email.

Currently, 168th Street is a two-way street, with the exception of a stretch between Hillside and Highland aves.

Lancman said he expects that the one-way portion of the street will be extended to Gothic Drive within a few months.

“I think it will make a big difference in making the street safer for the congregants of the mosque, the kids at the local high schools and the people who live in the neighborhood,” Lancman said.

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