ASTORIA — Transportation advocates are pushing this week for traffic safety improvements along a busy Queens street they say is dangerous for pedestrians.
Volunteers with the non-profit Transportation Alternatives have collected more than 1,000 signatures on a petition calling for traffic calming measures — including speed humps and shared bike lanes — on 21st Street in Astoria and Long Island City.
"It's not exactly the most pleasant street in Queens," said Transportation Alternatives' campaigns and organizing manager Miller Nuttle, who says the roadway's width of four lanes makes it a popular stretch for speeding drivers and heavy truck traffic.
That traffic poses a danger to pedestrians heading to the many residential destinations along the busy corridor, which include schools, a library, commercial businesses and the NYCHA Ravenswood Houses.
"There [are] a lot of destinations for people on foot or bike, but the street is still pretty uninviting and dangerous," Nuttle said.
He says the street is one of the more perilious in Astoria when it comes to injuries to pedestrians or cyclists, and seven people were killed on the roadway between 2002 and 2011, according to NYPD data compiled by Transportation Alternatives.
The campaign calls for traffic calming measures along 21st Street between Hoyt Avenue and Queens Plaza, including speed humps near schools and senior centers, speed cameras at traffic lights, pedestrian refuge islands, countdown clocks, as well as shared bike lanes.
There are currently bike lanes on the portion of 21st Street that runs parallel to Astoria Park, but the markings end south of Hoyt Avenue, which makes it a harrowing ride for cyclists who use the roadway to get to the park.
"I ride my bike on a small portion of 21st — it's kind of frightening to try and do that without any sort of clear markings so that drivers know we’re allowed there," said Paul Sailer, a volunteer with Transportation Alternatives' Queens Activist Committee.
He spoke to dozens of community groups and business owners along 21st in recent weeks, and most agreed that the road design on 21st Street offered little protection for pedestrians, he said.
The Queens volunteers will present their petition to Queens Community Board 1's transportation committee on Wednesday, and will ask the board to request the improvements from the Department of Transportation.
The DOT will study improvements forwarded from the community board, a spokesman said.