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Delay in Overhaul of Crash-Prone Corner Causing More Congestion, Locals Say

By Ewa Kern-Jedrychowska | September 21, 2017 6:22pm
 The city said it expects to complete the safety improvements at Yellowstone Boulevard and Austin Street in October.
The city said it expects to complete the safety improvements at Yellowstone Boulevard and Austin Street in October.
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DNAinfo/Ewa Kern-Jedrychowska

QUEENS —  Work to overhaul one of Forest Hills' most crash-prone intersections that was initially planned to wrap up this summer is now on track to finish next month — frustrating locals who said the ongoing construction makes the corner even more dangerous.

The corner of Yellowstone Boulevard and Austin Street, near J.H.S. 190 Russell Sage and the 112th Precinct, is considered one of the most dangerous intersections in the neighborhood — with 16 people, including eight pedestrians and one bicyclist, injured in collisions there between 2010 and 2014, according to Department of Transportation statistics.

Work at the intersection, which the city was hoping to complete when the nearby school was in summer recess, includes adding a new crosswalk and pedestrian signals; expanding the pedestrian island to provide more space and to make the crossing ADA-accessible; installing a concrete curb extension in front of J.H.S. 190; and moving 15 designated parking spaces for the NYPD in order to add a right-turn lane on eastbound Yellowstone Boulevard, the DOT said in April.  

But as of mid-September, the intersection still appears to be “a work in progress,” Community Board 6 member Mark Laster said during a recent board meeting.

Adriana Morote, who owns a Peruvian restaurant near the intersection, said the process has been very slow and frustrating.

"They create even more congestion with their trucks, and all they ever do is talk," she said about crews working on the project.

Morote added that she nearly got hit at the intersection in June when a car didn't stop as she was crossing Yellowstone Boulevard to pick up her 7-year-old daughter from a nearby school bus stop. She fell while trying to escape the vehicle, injuring her face, she said.

"This is a very dangerous intersection," she said, adding that the work also affected a portion of the sidewalk, making it difficult for people to access local businesses.

"It shouldn't take that long to fix it," she said.

CB 6 district manager Frank Gulluscio said that the project “was supposed to be completed by the time school started.”

“Now, that school has started, I expect some answers real soon,” he said.

A DOT spokesperson said Tuesday that the agency expects the project to be finished sometime in October without responding to questions about the cause of the delay. 

Attempts to reach representatives from J.H.S. 190 on Thursday were unsuccessful.

Photos: DNAinfo/Ewa Kern-Jedrychowska

The spokesperson also said that the concrete pedestrian island, curb extension and pedestrian ramps will be finished later this week, while new pedestrian and traffic signals are in the process of installation.

After the signals work is complete, the agency will install the new crosswalk, right turn lane, and updated markings, the DOT said.

Proposal to Overhaul the Intersection of Yellowstone Boulevard and Austin Street by DNAinfoNewYork on Scribd