QUEENS — City officials unveiled their plan Tuesday to make some of the most dangerous streets and intersections in Queens safer for pedestrians, including more speed limit signs and traffic lights timed to let those on foot cross streets separately from cars.
The changes are part of the city's Vision Zero program, which aims to reduce the number of traffic-related fatalities and severe injuries.
According to the Department of Transportation, most crashes in the borough are concentrated around several densely populated areas, including Sunnyside, Jackson Heights, Flushing, Jamaica and Elmhurst.
After analyzing statistics on crashes and fatalities and integrating them with input from community workshops held by the city last year, the DOT identified 47 “priority corridors,” 72 “priority intersections” and 17 square miles of “priority areas" in Queens, where 61 percent of all pedestrian fatalities, recorded between 2009 and 2013, took place.
“And that’s where we're going to be focusing a lot of efforts in the coming years,” said DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg Tuesday in Jamaica.
Similar plans will be soon announced for other boroughs, officials said.
Queens has 2,100 miles of streets, but the "priority corridors," which include Queens, Woodhaven and Junction boulevards, make up just 6 percent of that, city officials said.
Still, about half of all pedestrian fatalities and severe injuries in the borough took place along those corridors, officials said.
Officials said that each year the city is planning to implement at least 50 Vision Zero safety improvements at various "priority areas" citywide, including 10 to 12 in Queens.
Among the proposed changes, the city is planning to install additional speed limit signs this year, as lights timed for pedestrians at a number of "priority intersections" by the end of 2017, according to Ryan Russo, Deputy Transportation Commissioner.
Assemblyman Michael DenDekker had railed against de Blasio's Vision Zero plan, saying that it did "nothing" to protect pedestrians from turning cars, which were responsible for many injuries and fatalities. He had advocated for pedestrian scrambles, which separate pedestrian and vehicular traffic.
The plan also seeks to install new pedestrian islands on some streets and additional lighting under elevated trains and around transportation hubs.
Enforcement will also be increased around those areas, officials said.
Most of the changes should be implemented within 3 years, officials said.
In 2014, 137 pedestrian lost their lives in New York, the lowest number since the city began keeping such records in 1910.
The NYPD also intensified enforcement last year, increasing summonses for failure to yield to pedestrians by 126 percent, the city said.