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Queens Reps Want Northern Blvd. Included in Mayor's Traffic Safety Plan

By Jeanmarie Evelly | February 6, 2014 5:55pm | Updated on February 6, 2014 6:40pm
 Queens officials and local leaders say they want Northern Boulevard included in Mayor Bill de Blasio's traffic safety initiative.
Queens officials and local leaders say they want Northern Boulevard included in Mayor Bill de Blasio's traffic safety initiative.
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DNAinfo.com/Jeanmarie Evelly

WOODSIDE — Queens officials are calling for Mayor Bill de Blasio's traffic safety plan to zero in on Northern Boulevard, following two recent incidents where pedestrians were struck by cars on the roadway, including one that killed an 8-year-old boy.

The officials want Northern Boulevard included in the mayor's Vision Zero plan, announced last month, which — among other initiatives — would target 50 dangerous corridors and intersections each year for safety improvements.

De Blasio has called on several city agencies to form a task force to release a traffic safety report by Feb. 15, which is expected to include the 50 city streets chosen for improvements.

"Clearly, Northern Boulevard deserves this recognition," City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer said at an announcement Thursday at the corner of Northern Boulevard and 48th Street, where four people were struck and injured by a hit-and-run driver on Saturday while waiting at a bus stop.

Just a short distance away, 8-year-old Noshat Nahian was struck and killed in December after being hit by an unlicensed truck driver while crossing the six lanes of Northern Boulevard at 61st Street, as he was on his way to school at P.S. 152.

The motorist was cited for having a suspended license.

Officials said they want Vision Zero, which was announced near the scene of Nahian's accident, to include these two intersections and several others on Northern Boulevard, including at Steinway Street, Broadway and 51st Street, which Van Bramer described as accident prone areas.

The councilman said the busy roadway has "lots of pedestrians and lots of cars and lots of tricky intersections and turns."

"This is a street — some they may think it’s a highway — but the truth is there are people living, working, going to school all along Northern Boulevard, and it has to be just as safe as any other street in the city of New York," he said.

A recent report from the Tri-State Transportation Campaign named Northern Boulevard among the "region's most dangerous road for walking," in Queens, citing five pedestrian deaths on the street between 2010 and 2012.

Those incidents took place at different locations along the roadway between Jackson Heights and Bayside, according to a map from the report.

State Sen. Michael Gianaris lauded de Blasio for his commitment to pedestrian safety.

"He's put a focus on this issue at the very outset of his administration, and we do hope they include Northern Boulevard in the report that’s coming out," he said.

"These incidents keep on happening because the issue of pedestrian safety has not been taken seriously enough."