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A failure to communicate

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Part of the plan includes the erection of a fence that will make it...

The city has announced new plans to reduce pedestrian fatalities on Queens Boulevard. The boulevard, the most dangerous street in the city, has earned the name “The Boulevard of Death.”

Part of the plan includes the erection of a fence that will make it difficult to cross the boulevard at places where there are not crossing signals. Whether this will work remains to be seen. So far safety measures have had limited impact. But no one can fault the sincerity of the city’s effort. The challenge has been to get pedestrians safely across the street without making changes that will seriously slow traffic causing major congestion.

Unfortunately small business owners in Sunnyside fear that the proposed changes will have a negative impact on their business. The plan would close the cross streets at 40th and 33rd Streets. The city claims this is necessary because people exiting the Number 7 train have little curb space and step out into the traffic.

The merchants say the city did not ask for their opinion or do an impact study before announcing its plan. The Chamber of Commerce insists that the changes will adversely impact local business. Many of these businesses are already struggling to keep to keep afloat.

Ironically Sunnyside is not the most dangerous part of Queens Boulevard. The street becomes dangerous as it moves further west. It may be that the Department of Transportation is right, that these changes will have minimal impact on business. But the DOT should have discussed the changes with local leaders before committing to them.

There is still time to seek local input before implementing the plan. He Sunyside businesses may not prevail, but at least they would know that their voices were heard.

Posted 7:03 pm, October 10, 2011
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