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Major Safety Overhaul Planned for Dangerous Forest Hills Intersection

By Ewa Kern-Jedrychowska | January 27, 2017 4:24pm | Updated on January 30, 2017 8:45am
 The intersection of Austin Street and Yellowstone Boulevard has long been considered a dangerous place for pedestrians.
The intersection of Austin Street and Yellowstone Boulevard has long been considered a dangerous place for pedestrians.
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DNAinfo/Ewa Kern-Jedrychowska

QUEENS — One of Forest Hills' worst corners may soon be headed for a major safety makeover, city officials said. 

The intersection of Yellowstone Boulevard and Austin Street, near J.H.S. 190 Russell Sage and the 112th Precinct stationhouse, has been "forever problematic," according to Frank Gulluscio, district manager at Community Board 6.

Between 2010 and 2014, 16 people, including eight pedestrians and one bicyclist, were injured in collisions at the intersection, according to statistics provided by the Department of Transportation.

One of the hurt pedestrians sustained severe injuries after being hit in the crosswalk by a driver turning left into Austin Street, according to the agency.

Cars are often parked in the crosswalk, limiting visibility, motorists driving east frequently turn left onto Austin Street against traffic signals, and the existing pedestrian safety island does not provide enough space for those crossing the street, residents and the DOT said. In addition, the intersection is at an angle, making the turns more dangerous, locals say.

"I find this intersection scary because drivers can easily get confused," said Melissa Benoit, 44, who lives nearby. "I've seen them turning left into Austin at the last second, which is very dangerous, especially for the kids in front of the school." 

The Department of Transportation wants to introduce a number of fixes at the intersection which they said would make it safer, including:  

► Adding a new crosswalk and pedestrian signals on the west portion of Yellowstone Boulevard

► Expanding the pedestrian island at the intersection to provide more space and to make the crossing ADA-accessible.

► Installing an additional traffic signal on the west portion of Yellowstone Boulevard to reinforce where drivers should stop while waiting for the light to change.

► Installing a concrete curb extension in front of J.H.S. 190 which would shorten pedestrian crossing distance and better control car turning onto Austin Street.

Source: Department of Transportation

Alana Morales, a spokeswoman for the DOT, said the agency presented the project to CB6’s Transportation Committee earlier this month. 

“Following community feedback, DOT will be returning to the board with an update in the near future,” she said.