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Koslowitz Hopes to Help Turn Queens Blvd. Into 'Boulevard of Life' With $1M

By Ewa Kern-Jedrychowska | March 10, 2015 11:39am
 Councilwoman Karen Koslowitz joined a rally Saturday pushing for a redesign of Queens Boulevard.
Councilwoman Karen Koslowitz joined a rally Saturday pushing for a redesign of Queens Boulevard.
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office of Karen Koslowitz/Twitter

QUEENS — Forest Hills Councilwoman Karen Koslowitz allocated $1 million for safety upgrades to Queens Boulevard, where more than 100 fatal accidents have taken place over a 10-year period.

The notorious thoroughfare, dubbed the "Boulevard of Death," has been identified by the city as one of the most accident-prone streets in the borough, and has been targeted for safety upgrades under Mayor Bill de Blasio's Vision Zero plan.

“We don’t want to be called the 'Boulevard of Death,'” Koslowitz said. “We want to be called the 'Boulevard of Life.'”

Koslowitz set aside funds from her capital budget to put toward a feasibility study that would determine what changes are needed to make the boulevard along her district safer.

“In my district we had more people killed … than in any other area [along Queens Boulevard],” Koslowitz said Monday.

Nearly 100 people died along the artery in the neighborhoods of Rego Park, Forest Hills and Kew Gardens from 1991 to 2001, Koslowitz said.

Koslowitz already allocated $7 million over the years to improve safety along that stretch, including installing fences and countdown signals.

“But we need a lot of improvements,” said Koslowitz, who joined a rally organized by groups pushing for a redesign of Queens Boulevard on March 7.


                                                                                                                                     Video: Noah Beadle

The city also announced last week that it has committed $100 million to transform the 7.2-mile boulevard.

In January, the Department of Transportation held the first in a series of workshops to gather ideas on ways to overhaul the street. Addition of protected bike lanes and improvements to pedestrian crossings and service roads were some of the suggestions made by dozens of people who attended the workshop at P.S. 11 in Woodside.

The DOT plans to implement some of those changes later this year, and more workshops are planned for other sections of the boulevard in spring of next year, the DOT said.

“It’s going to be a lot of time before we see changes," Koslowitz said. 

A spokesman for the DOT said that Koslowitz "has always been a tremendous supporter for Queens Boulevard’s safety as DOT worked to bring traffic-calming and other treatments to the corridor."  

"Her recent allocation of $1M will literally help DOT break new ground on a safer Queens Boulevard and help the City move closer to its Vision Zero goals," he noted.