Vallone calls for speed bump

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Astoria leaders said they will continue to push for a traffic-slowing device at a dangerous intersection in the community after the city concluded that no action should be taken at the site.

Maura McCarthy, Queens commissioner of the city Department of Transportation, wrote a letter in March to City Councilman Peter Vallone Jr. (D-Astoria) in which she said the city did not recommend a traffic signal at the corner of 21st Avenue and 23rd Street in Astoria.

But Vallone said he would not take the pressure off the DOT to make the intersection safer.

“There’s a school a few blocks away,” he said. “There have been recent accidents there. The neighborhood feels that some sort of traffic mitigation is necessary.”

On Nov. 13, Astoria’s Konstantinos Stayropoulos died after being struck by a car at the intersection.

Costa Constantinides, an Astoria district leader, said the community did not have its sights set on any particular traffic-slowing device. But he said he believed further safety measures should be taken, whether it is a traffic light or a stop sign.

The DOT had already decided that a speed bump would not be appropriate at the corner because the street is on a bus route.

“We’re not asking for a speed bump, but anything in their toolbox,” Constantinides said. “It’s pretty frustrating. We want them to do something.”

Community residents joined Vallone, Constantinides and state Assemblyman Michael Gianaris (D-Astoria) earlier this year for a rally at the intersection, where they warned that further accidents were bound to occur due to a lack of traffic devices on 21st Avenue between 21st Street and 28th Street.

Two schools — PS 122 and St. John’s Prep High School — as well as the Kid Krazy day-care center are within a seven-block radius of the site.

Vallone had originally called for a traffic study at the corner in 2006, but it never materialized.

In a Nov. 30 letter to the DOT, he wrote that “with the profusion of new construction in the area, the population has increased dramatically in the last few years.”

The DOT’s McCarthywrote back to the councilman that the agency’s most recent study of the site took into account vehicular and pedestrian volume, the number of accidents and sign visibility. But no further action was required, she wrote.

Reach reporter Nathan Duke by e-mail at or by phone at 718-260-4566.

Updated 5:48 pm, October 10, 2011
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