In response to the string of accidents, which has caused more than 70 fatalities since 1993 according to the Forest Hills Action League, the city Department of Transportation has begun a full-fledged educational assault at local schools and senior centers to combat the pedestrian crisis.
The City Council Transportation Committee was scheduled to hold a special hearing in January to devise ways of protecting pedestrians along the thoroughfare.
Angelita Montenegro, 37, was crossing the Queens Boulevard service lane at the 69th Street intersection last Thursday, when a car idling at the stoplight abruptly started and "tapped" Montenegro who was in the crosswalk, said Lt. Joseph Davids of the 112th Precinct. She suffered minor injuries and was brought to St. John's Hospital, he said.
The following day, Sadie Patrone, 76, was crossing Queens Boulevard at 55th Street, when the driver of a 1987 Chevy traveling south on 55th Street made a left turn, striking Patrone while she was in the crosswalk. She injured her leg and fell backwards onto her husband, said Police spokeswoman Officer Theresa Farello.
Patrone was taken to St. John's Hospital and was listed in stable condition. No charges were brought against the driver since the incident was deemed an accident, Farello said.
In an effort to prevent such mishaps, educators from the Transportation Department will visit Forest Hills' JHS 190 and PS 101, and PS 174 in Rego Park to offer a variety of interactive safety theater programs and classroom presentations.
Other programs will be offered this spring to the three senior centers closest to the Queens Boulevard and 67th Avenue intersection: Self-Help Austin Street, Forest Hills Community House Senior Center, and Young Israel Forest Hills Senior Center.
The City Council Transportation Committee hearing, headed by Councilman Noach Dear (D-Brooklyn), will be held Jan. 11. On the agenda for discussion will be the installation of jaywalker barriers and increasing the street-crossing time for pedestrians.
"The Transportation Committee has addressed this issue in the past," said Dear. "But now the time has come for us to eliminate the 'Killing Fields of Queens."'
©2000 Community News Group
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