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Comrie works with DOT to fix intersection danger

The city has answered a call by City Councilman Leroy Comrie (D-St. Albans) to improve a traffic device he says put both pedestrians and motorists at a serious risk of danger.

Comrie sent a letter to the city Department of Transportation two weeks ago and talked about his concerns about the intersection of Francis Lewis Boulevard and 115th Avenue, where two traffic bollards or bells have caused problems.

The placement of the bells in the middle of the large, two-way street and the lack of street lighting have led to numerous accidents over the last couple of weeks, according to the councilman.

“These bells are painted entirely black and motorists have had trouble identifying them while driving at night,” he wrote in the letter.

Comrie added that the problem is exacerbated during inclement weather since the black bells blend in with the street, so motorists who try and turn into the corner do not see them. An accident which did not result in serious injuries took place there Aug. 21, the councilman said.

The bollards are used to protect pedestrians by reducing the space in which cars can turn when they are at a median, according to the city Department of Design and Construction. The bells are in other streets of the city, including Brooklyn, but they are usually marked with white paint, according to the councilman, who proved DOT with images of those bells.

Comrie asked acting Queens DOT Commissioner Maura McCarthy not only to give the bells on Francis Lewis Boulevard a paint job, but also post signs and place a pole to give drivers and pedestrians in the area a heads-up as they make their way around the intersection.

“I have respectfully requested that this situation be remedied as urgently as possible. I consider this situation a threat to public safety for pedestrians and motorists alike,” he wrote.

Representatives for the DOT and DDC said they concurred with Comrie and last week the bells were given a paint job and new poles were placed on the sides of the devices.

“To make the bollards more visible to drivers, the tops of the bollards have been painted white and the Department of Transportation also installed tubular markers,” DDC spokesman Craig Chin said in a statement.

Reach reporter Ivan Pereira by e-mail at ipereira@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4546.

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