REGO PARK — The city's Transportation Department is revamping the traffic and parking configuration around a busy Rego Park hub that has seen hundreds of people injured in car accidents.
The plan, unveiled at a community board meeting on Wednesday, is designed to slow cars near the Rego Center Mall by creating angled, back-in parking this summer along a busy stretch of Junction Boulevard between 62nd Drive and Queens Boulevard.
DOT also intends to narrow lanes on nearby streets in response to more than 300 injuries due to car accidents in the area since 2005.
Wider parking lanes are planned for 63rd Road, where almost 200 of the injuries occurred, reducing the roadway from three lanes to two.
The plan also calls for narrower lanes on 62nd Drive to reduce speeding while splitting the road into three lanes -- left turn only, through traffic and right turn only -- as it approaches Queens Boulevard.
Rego Center, which opened in the spring of 2010 anchored by stores like Century 21, Costco and Kohl's, has significantly increased traffic in the neighborhood along the Long Island Expressway.
During a Community Board 6 meeting in Rego Center on Wednesday, Queens Transportation Department Commissioner Maura McCarthy said the dangerous situation near the mall is an aberration since the city has the lowest number of pedestrian fatalities ever reported.
"We want it to be even less," she told the crowd.
Jesse Mintz-Roth, a senior project manager for the Transportation Department, said that senior citizens make up 12 percent of the city's population but account for 36 percent of pedestrian fatalities.
The angled parking on Junction Boulevard will add 10 new spaces to the congested block by the mall.
"It adds spaces and it makes it safer when you pull out," said the board's district manager, Frank Gulluscio.
Gulluscio said many residents were skeptical of the back-in parking, however, since they feel it's more difficult and could back up traffic.