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DOT fence plans expanded along ‘Boulevard of Death’

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“We want to begin work in...

By Philip Newman

The city Transportation Department plans to resume installation of fencing along Queens Boulevard this spring in a campaign to reduce pedestrian fatalities by adding four more miles of barriers to restrict mid-block crossings.

“We want to begin work in early May at the latest in putting up fencing from Union Turnpike to Hillside Avenue, then from the Long Island Expressway to Roosevelt Avenue,” said Lisi de Bourbon, a spokeswoman for the Transportation Department.

Fences installed in 2001 already stretch from the Long Island Expressway to Union Turnpike.

De Bourbon said the $4 million contract for the latest stretch of fencing, which is to cover four miles, had not yet been awarded.

“It is our hope that the work will be completed by September,” de Bourbon said.

The fences were first put in place to try to diminish the pedestrian death toll after 72 people were struck and killed by cars along Queens Boulevard between 1993 and 2000.

Fatalities have lessened since, with four people killed in 2001, two killed in 2002 and two so far this year, de Bourbon said.

The latest car-pedestrian accident occurred Saturday when a 77-year-old woman was struck and critically injured while crossing Queens Boulevard at 63rd Drive. The 112th Precinct said no arrest had been made or summons issued.

Also in an effort to make the boulevard safer, a uniform 30 mph speed limit was instituted.

In addition, along a 4.5 mile-stretch in Forest Hills, more than 400 signs were put up warning pedestrians to be alert while crossing the road, red light duration times were lengthened to give pedestrians more time to cross, and parking meters were installed along the service roads in both directions.

At the request of Borough President Helen Marshall, the DOT also plans to install more mid-block crossings, allowing people to cross safely in the middle of the block instead of having to walk to a corner intersection, where cars frequently turn into the crosswalk.

There are currently four mid-block crossings on Queens Boulevard: at 68th Avenue, 69th Avenue, 70th Avenue, and across from Borough Hall, near Union Turnpike.

--Tien-Shun Lee contributed to this story

Reach contributing writer Philip Newman by e-mail at Timesledger@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 136.

Posted 7:02 pm, October 10, 2011
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