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City to Hold Workshop on Ways to Make Streets Near Astoria Park Safer

By Jeanmarie Evelly | October 9, 2015 2:29pm | Updated on October 12, 2015 8:26am
 Shore Boulevard along Astoria Park.
Shore Boulevard along Astoria Park.
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DNAinfo/Ewa Kern-Jedrychowska

DITMARS — The city wants to hear from Astoria residents about what could be done to improve traffic safety on streets in and around Astoria Park.

The Department of Transportation and elected officials are hosting a public workshop on Oct. 28 to gather ideas from residents, following recent calls to curb speeding drivers in the area and to possibly close down Shore Boulevard to traffic.

During the meeting, which will include representatives from the DOT, residents will be broken up into groups, where they can look at maps of the neighborhood and make suggestions on how specific streets can be improved, such as installing a speed bump or a stop sign.

"This is an opportunity for residents to come and have their voice heard in a working group," said Councilman Costa Constantinides.

"We're not going to pass a microphone," he said. "There's a whole network of streets that we want peope to work on. Let's look at the map and let's go to work."

The councilman called for traffic safety changes around the park this summer, following crashes in the area in recent years, including a hit-and-run driver who ran a stop sign and killed a 21-year-old woman as she was crossing Ditmars Boulevard at 19th Street in June.

"We've had three deaths and many, many injuries in the streets around Astoria Park in the last six years," Constantinides said. "We owe it to that family and we owe it to every other family in Astoria to get this right."

Another lawmaker, Assemblywoman Aravella Simotas, has suggested banning cars on a portion of Shore Boulevard that runs along the waterfront in Astoria Park, turning the roadway into a pedestrian walkway instead. 

The idea has generated strong onions from residents, both for and against the plan.

Constantinides said the workshop seeks to keep the conversation constructive.

"We need to talk with each other, not at each other," he said.

The traffic safety meeting will take place Oct. 28 at 7 p.m. upstairs at Bohemian Hall, at 29-19 24th Ave. More information can be found here.