Friday, December 04, 2009

Rally for Safer Streets on 21st Avenue

This is from a couple of friends involved with Astoria community issues:
On Friday, November 13, there was a fatal pedestrian tragedy where someone crossing the street was hit. This tragedy is compounded by the fact there are NO stop signs, speed bumps, or street lights on 21 Avenue from 21 Street and 28 Street. Within this seven block radius lies 2 schools, PS 122 and St. John's Prep HS and a daycare center Kid Krazy in which this tragedy happened in front of.

Our children are at risk for lack of traffic calming measures on 21st Avenue! There is a serious need for this to proceed.

Not only was there a fatality but several car related accidents have occurred in the past 12-18 months in this area. We are calling for the immediate remediation of the unsafe conditions at this intersection.

Join the Long Island City Alliance, Transportation Alternatives Queens Committee, local elected officials, 21 avenue residents and other concerned Astorians to stand up and urge the placement of traffic calming measures to make our streets safe for our children.
Saturday, December 5, 2009
11:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
21 Avenue on the corner of 23 Street

Facebook info


wolvensense said...

Dear Joeys,

Thank you for posting this. While I hadn't discovered your blog until after the rally, I was still able to attend the rally as interested parties informed me while my wife and I exited the day care center with our 2 year old daughter.

Some information for your readers...

One paper petition for said traffic calming measures for 21st Ave. is accessible for concerned locals to sign. It is just inside the entryway of the S&M Grocery on the northwest corner of 21st Ave. and 23rd Street nearest to where this most recent tragedy had taken place.


wolvensense said...

Some information for you...

While it is natural to focus on
the most recent death and the particular stretch of road upon which it occurred, I found it strange that those to whom I'd spoken at the rally were generally unaware that this is the third traffic related death in four years ON THE SAME BLOCK. My sharing of this information was met both with concerns and generalizations about our greater purpose for being there, but the broader point I'd wished to illustrate took a back seat to the rain and the cold.

1) If "part" of the problem is the manner in which the DOT allegedly "waits" for casualties before conducting a traffic study and then taking measures, I think three deaths in four years, while horrible, is a much more persuasive motivator than this one over which we'd rallied. Perhaps if these deaths were spread out over a greater area or over a greater number of years, while still senseless, they might be rationalized numerically. 3 on one block in 4 years? Inconceivable! The 3 death fact should be understood and utilized.

2) While traffic calming measures for this seven block stretch of unregulated and under-enforced vehicle movement on 21st Avenue is a good first step, it ignores the other three roads that make up the single block upon which those two additional deaths have occurred. Moreover, it ignores the available local knowledge on traffic patterns ten blocks wide. Obviously, we cannot rationally suggest speed humps, signs, and traffic lights throughout. We need a strategy that addresses vehicle movement, violations, and crimes with regard to whole city blocks or sets of blocks and not one road at a time as might seem the culprit. I suspect such a strategy would include measures you've suggested for 21st Ave., but further suspect that such a first step would be for naught if those fighting to make it happen do not also fight for the full breadth of information to be reviewed.


wolvensense said...

(FYI, the last death was a motorcyclist vs. car at the intersection of 21st and 20th Ave. on that same block in 2007 or 2008. Prior to that was the early morning death of an octogenarian crossing 23rd Street from her home between 21st Ave. and 20th Ave. on that same block. She was struck by a driver later caught and found to be intoxicated. Her body went up, over the vehicle, her head hitting the pavement to the rear of the vehicle.)


wolvensense said...

Some local information to help your cause…

During the rally and in your blog we heard about the two schools and one day care center within two blocks of the most recent death on the street. This is good. Readers should hear about this. The safety of children is always a strong motivator to action. I would, however, wish for readers to better understand why this particular two block radius proves a great conflux of automobile and pedestrian traffic. Yes, within sight, within two small blocks are:

P.S. 122
St. John’s Prep and
Kid Krazy Day Care

but also in that same radius are:

bicycle lanes
the park
Hope Chapel
a second Kid Krazy on the same block (doubling the child care population)
the P.S. 122 playground
our local grocery store (has no parking lot)
an animal clinic and
our polling place (to use the 2008 presidential election as an example, the 6:00am line to vote stretched 4 blocks)

With regard to drivers in the area, all the above is layered onto:

A seven block stretch of 21st Ave. without traffic regulation
21st Street, the main bi-directional north/south thoroughfare on Queen’s west side
Astoria Transportation (a fine service, but with many cars and no parking lot to accommodate them.)
Ditmars Blvd., the frequented alternative to the GCP, bi-directional east/west route to LaGuardia Airport
3 bus routes
The 21st Street / 20th Ave. turnoff which is the main route to transport busloads of prisoners quickly to Riker’s Island and the main route for our Fire Department to respond to emergencies north of Robert F. Kennedy Bridge/east of Steinway. It is also the main turnoff for all the delivery trucks coming out of our industrial park.
The delivery/parking entry on the west side of 23rd Street which is close enough to 21st Ave. to draw in multiple vehicles per day that proceed the wrong way down 23rd Street (a one way street). These vehicles are usually private sanitation trucks, construction vehicles, and delivery cars and trucks.
The intersection of 23rd Street and 21st Ave. (site of the latest tragedy) where the traffic conflux about which we I write causes an extremely high amount of illegal u-turns to be performed in the intersection.
One corner gas station with pay vacuums.
The corner of 21st Ave. and 21st Street which is where 10+ UPS trucks park and double park every workday for lunch.