QUEENS — Community Board 6 backed a proposal to redesign one of Forest Hills' most dangerous intersections after the city agreed to move 15 designated parking spaces for the NYPD from the intersection in order to create an additional lane instead, officials said.
The intersection of Yellowstone Boulevard and Austin Street, near J.H.S. 190 Russell Sage and the 112th Precinct stationhouse, is considered one of the most crash-prone corners in the neighborhood, officials and residents said.
Sixteen people, including eight pedestrians and one bicyclist, were injured in collisions there between 2010 and 2014, according to statistics provided by the Department of Transportation.
In its initial proposal, presented to the CB6’s Transportation Committee in January, the DOT proposed to introduce a number of fixes at the intersection — where the existing pedestrian safety island does not provide enough space for those crossing the street and visibility is limited due to cars often parked in the crosswalk, the agency said.
CB6's Transportation Committee later made several additional suggestions, including adding pedestrian crossing time and moving 15 authorized parking spaces for the NYPD from the south side of Yellowstone Boulevard — which the committee said have been causing "significant congestion" at the intersection — in order to create a right-turn lane for cars turning onto Austin Street.
Twelve of the NYPD parking spaces will soon be reassigned to Gerard Place and the remaining three will be placed on Austin Street, according to the DOT.
Courtesy of the DOT
The current proposal which was backed by CB6 last week also calls for:
► 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.
► Adding additional pedestrian crossing time on the north and east portion of the intersection.
► Adding a right-turn lane on eastbound Yellowstone Boulevard.
Courtesy of DOT
CB6 supported the proposal on condition that a dedicated left-turn signal will also be added for motorists turning left onto Austin Street from Yellowstone Boulevard.
“The current proposal will rationalize traffic flow on a very difficult intersection,” said John Dereszewski, head of Community Board 6's Transportation Committee, at a CB6 meeting last week.
Representatives for the DOT said that the changes will most likely be implemented in the summer, when the nearby school is in recess.
SEE THE FULL PROPOSAL TO OVERHAUL YELLOWSTONE BOULEVARD AND AUSTIN STREET BELOW