JACKSON HEIGHTS — Making safety improvements to a busy intersection where a 17-year-old was recently killed by a hit-run driver is a "challenge" because the streets are routes for both trucks and buses, the borough's Department of Transportation commissioner said Wednesday.
A week after 17-year-old Ovidio Jaramillo was struck and killed at Junction and Northern boulevards by a hit and run driver, Nicole Garcia, the borough's commissioner, visited the corner early Wednesday with Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras-Copeland, State Senator Jose Peralta and Cristina Furlong from Make Queens Safer to brainstorm potential fixes.
While the DOT has pushed Vision Zero initiatives on Northern Boulevard, including limiting turns and adding pedestrian medians, they are limited with what they can do at the deadly corner, Garcia and her team said.
Both streets are busy access routes for trucks and city buses, and if the city eliminated turns on Northern and Junction boulevards, trucks would likely use residential streets to access highways.
"It's a challenge," Garcia said.
However, Garcia said the DOT plans to add a mobile red light camera to the intersection soon.
Ferreras-Copeland and Peralta suggested adding speed bumps or rumble strips to the streets to slow speeding drivers.
The councilwoman, whose two best friends were killed at the intersection more than 20 years ago by a drunk driver, said drivers often forget they're in a residential area.
"It feels like a highway, and drivers tend to forget they're driving through a community," Ferreras-Copeland said.
Both elected officials also suggested the city could add speed cameras to the area and said they plan to host a town hall about street safety early next year.