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More students worsen traffic at Queensborough

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Bayside community leaders said an already-busy intersection in the community has been snarled by even more traffic during the past few months after Queensborough Community College’s student body grew exponentially last semester.

Last fall, Queensborough President Eduardo Marti said the total number of new students entering the school for the 2009 fall semester was several thousand more than the previous year. The school, at 225-05 56th Ave. in Bayside, welcomed more than 14,100 new pupils to its campus at the beginning of the new school year last August.

Scott Hanover, deputy inspector of Bayside’s 111th Precinct, told members of Community Board 11 at a recent meeting that traffic had increased at Springfield Boulevard near the Horace Harding Expressway in the past several months.

“Even if only one-third of [the new students] drive, that’s still 1,000 new cars on the road,” he said.

Last year, Marti said he believed the 20 percent increase in Queensborough’s student body was probably due to the ailing economy and families deciding to send their children to public schools rather than private universities.

Civic leaders and Community Board 11 have called on the city Department of Transportation to place signs at Springfield Boulevard and Horace Harding that read “Do not block the box.”

“The DOT had told us that it was not necessary because there is not enough traffic and pedestrian movement,” CB 11 District Manager Susan Seinfeld said. “But it’s becoming a terrible problem there because of traffic.”

Seinfeld said the intersection was flooded with traffic in the early morning and mid-afternoon due to students getting out of school at Queensborough and nearby Benjamin N. Cardozo High School.

“The DOT should take a look at that whole area more stringently,” said Michael Feiner, president of the Bayside Hills Civic Association. “On some days, it gets so congested that cars get locked up on left and right turns and get stuck in the intersection.”

Feiner said residents living near the intersection have complained that some drivers go too fast and that there have been several accidents on Springfield Boulevard near 53rd Avenue during which vehicles crashed onto property.

Reach reporter Nathan Duke by e-mail at nduke@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 156.

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