Calls for street safety improvements in downtown Flushing intensify after woman is struck by vehicle

The 59-year-old woman was rescued by fire officials and taken to Booth Memorial Hospital.
TimesLedger Newspapers
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A woman who was struck and pinned under a vehicle while crossing Roosevelt Avenue between Main Street and Union Street on Wednesday morning is in critical condition, according to authorities.

Police said a 59-year-old woman was crossing on Roosevelt Avenue between Main and Union Streets on Jan. 2 at around 7:50 a.m. heading to the subway station when she was hit by a black Ford and was pinned under the vehicle.

Firefighters shortly arrived and rescued the woman, who was transported to NewYork-Presbyterian Queens Hospital.

The operator of the vehicle stayed at the scene and the investigation remained ongoing, police said.

Flushing resident Rob Reynolds witnessed the aftermath of the incident.

“When I arrived she was already under the car, and there were a lot of people around and the car and they were trying to lift the car off of her so she could get out,” said Reynolds. “I don’t know if she’s alive or dead as of right now. After the firemen got there and got her out they got her on the stretcher, and put her in the ambulance … as they were putting her in the ambulance I heard somebody saying ‘she’s unresponsi­ve.’”

It’s not the first time a pedestrian has been hit at the busy intersection, according to Reynolds.

“Someone was killed in that same spot in June 2018, and this is a big problem,” said Reynolds, who has reached out to local elected officials about the issue.

In December 2017, Reynolds contacted City Councilman Peter Koo requesting that Roosevelt Avenue between Main and Union Streets be closed to vehicular traffic and transformed into a pedestrian plaza. He told TimesLedger that he has not yet heard back from Koo.

“If we can make it in Times Square we can do it here,” said Reynolds. “It’s totally doable and necessary. People die and it’s not safe and it’s also inconvenient … I walk to the subway everyday.”

“I walk to the subway everyday and the reason I think she was crossing the street there is because the escalator was broken,” Reynolds added. “This is happens all the time, the escalator is not working.”

Reynolds emailed the MTA on Dec. 3 asking the authority to fix the broken escalator, but has yet to receive a response.

“I have never visited a place that has a broken or inactive escalator as frequently as the Flushing Main Street station. It would seem that a station that serves so many New Yorkers would not be in such a bad state of repair,” said Reynolds. “It seems like 25 percent of the time at least one of the three escalators in the station’s eastern-most entrance/exit are either blocked off due to repairs, or just shut down. Why don’t you just fix it permanently next time you shut it down?”

Following Wednesday’s incident, state Assemblyman Ron Kim took to Twitter, calling for safety improvements at the intersection, which is also the point of entrance for the 7 train subway station.

“For over a year, my constituents have asked @MTA to fix the broken escalator, which is causing people to cross the street to the other entrance,” Kim said on Twitter. “We can’t wait any longer. We need to also prioritize the needs of pedestrians over vehicles in downtown Flushing and across our city. I’m calling @NYC_DOT to come back & explore all options, including the creations of pedestrian plazas, on Roosevelt Avenue.”

“At the end of the day, the intersection of Roosevelt and Main Street is statistically one of the busiest intersections in New York City for both pedestrians and vehicle traffic, and we will continue working with the DOT, 109 Precinct, the Community Board and all stakeholders to ensure drivers and pedestrians are educated and informed about the need to travel safely,” Kim said in a statement to TimesLedger.

Koo said he’s worked with the DOT on a number of improvements centered on the downtown Flushing area over the last several years, which include a complete reconstruction of Main Street, wider sidewalks up to 9 feet to make it safer for pedestrians, new crosswalks, pedestrian islands, street repavings, bus lanes, traffic signals, adjustments to traffic signal timings, and more restrictive traffic patterns that prioritize pedestrian crossings.

“Last year, I also introduced Intro 1806, which would make it a requirement for the DOT to consider all-way traffic stops and leading pedestrian intervals at intersections as part of its studies of fatal or serious pedestrian crashes,” said Koo.

Koo also called on the MTA to get its act together and fix the broken escalator, describing it as an “essential piece of infrastruc­ture” that serves so many commuters in Flushing.

“If this community is to bear the burden of dozens of bus lines and the last stop on the 7 train, the least the MTA can do is to make sure its customers have access to these vital services,” said Koo.

Reach reporter Carlotta Mohamed by e-mail at or by phone at (718) 260–4526.

Firefighters at the scene of the incident try to rescue the woman pinned under the vehicle.
Posted 12:00 am, January 4, 2019
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Reader feedback

David from Bayside says:
Perfect time for mayor a@@hole to build some more bike lanes !
Jan. 4, 6:40 am
Bad drivers from Queens says:
Asians cant drive! They run stop signs left and left and to them, traffic laws dont even exist. Good luck trying to get any insurance information too from any of them because guess what? They dont carry any. I dont even know how they pass a driving test when many dont even speak or read English so how can they read road signs?
Jan. 4, 7:55 am
Bad drivers from Queens is spot on! from Bayside says:
The comment made by Bad drivers from Queens is 100% spot on. The reason NE Queens pays the highest car insurance in the city is because of the Asian community. Before the snowflakes start crying racism, it’s an effing fact that the Asian community can’t drive for —— even if their life depended on it. Every car accident I’ve witnessed on Bell, Francis Lewis Blvd, Northern Blvd all the way to the Clearview expwy is as a direct cause of a bad Asian driver.
Jan. 4, 10:55 am
Jr from Bayside says:
I was taught as a kid, cross at the green , and not in between. From the photo it sure doesnt look like a crossing intersection. Maybe run those old ads aimed at children again. We have to dumb things down, as we have lower the standards on everything else.
Jan. 4, 11:27 am
Helton from Flushing says:
We've discussed this previously. Before any politician gets on the soapbox and demands changes, see how many accidents were caused by the pedestrian and not the driver. Jr is correct, and the story confirms that the victim was crossing Roosevelt between Main and Union. The fact that the driver stayed at the scene indicates that he may not have been at fault. Interesting also that the accident happened at 7:50 AM when it's plenty light outside.
Jan. 4, 12:21 pm
The Venerable Stan from Flushing says:
This is NOT a new problem, and the cause rests largely on the shoulders of city hall, going back to at least the Wagner administration. ¶ Once upon a time——in my youth——there was a BUS TERMINAL on the south side of Roosevelt Ave Between Main & Union Streets. That terminal was shut down, the Gertz* Dept. Store was built to replace it. Following that the busses all lined up on the streets. Most of the busses lined up on Roosevelt between Main & Union Sts. The number of busses then was much few than at present. ¶ Folks in Flushing were VERY unhappy about this, mostly because they had no shelter when it was raining or snowing. The city fathers promised to replace the terminal. That was around 65 or 70 years ago. For several decades it was a major civic issue in Flushing. I'm still waiting; however, over the decades it has dropped from public discussion, probably because almost no one remembers it. § Issues & problems with the escalators in the Main St. #7 station arose even before the new station was opened. I don't remember the exact details, but they were problematic from BEFORE day one. There was absolutely a major problem with the contractor that installed them. ¶ Undoubtedly, the problem started with the TA's use of the lowest bidder, who typically tries to cut corners, to save money, & not go bankrupt. The workers, who want their high paying, low productivity, jobs to never end also deserve a mention. However, that's a different harangue for another day. § All the above aside, the largest problem here is with the city's TOTAL lack of planning. This is best seen with the construction of a huge building on the site of the municipal parking lot, & the development of the areas West of Main street with numerous large buildings & no attention to the widening of streets and sidewalks or other aspects of city planning. ¶ A few of you might want to think about why the #7 train was never extended east of Main Street. ¶ Then there is the question of do we really need greater population density in Flushing, and if so should there be some limit on population density? This leads to more weighty questions like, "If we are going to ban or severely limit vehicles to reduce congestion & promote safety, should we also ban or severely limit population increase for the same reasons?" Peter Koo, should give a lot of thought to where limits on thing (like traffic) might lead. ¶ I don't have answers to these questions, and since I'm old, I'll probably be dead before unbridled expansion leads to avoidable disaster. For most of you the problem might become very real in your lifetimes. . *Gertz became Macys
Jan. 4, 1:31 pm
Flushing finest from Queens says:
The fact of that there is a crosswalk in middle of Roosevelt ave,between main st and union st makes it her mistake.crosswalk @mcdonalds to Macy’s across the street unyun sayo!
Jan. 4, 3:38 pm
Crackers from Queens says:
To all the Asian haters, bad Asian drivers is a stereotype just like how Whites are stereotyped as racists.
Jan. 4, 11:30 pm
Me from Flushing says:
Maybe she was crossing in the middle of the stress cause they do that.
Jan. 4, 11:44 pm
Eduardo Herrera from Elmhurst says:
YES!!! - Asians don't know how to drive.
Jan. 5, 6:51 am
Larry the Cable Guy from Crackerville says:
Instead of talking out your bung holes, how about a little research: "We tell you about this stereotype to give you this fact, specifically – Asian are actually very skillful drivers. Statistics show that Asian drivers, as a group, are actually the safest on the roads in America, with a fatality rate at least three times lower than any other ethnic group. Asians average about four deaths for every 1000,000 people. Whites, Hispanics, and blacks then follow at around 12 per 100,000 each. The most dangerous group is American Indians at nearly 32 deaths per 100,000." Read 'em and weep sweethearts.
Jan. 5, 1:21 pm
Celtic from Bayside says:
How can any of you morons argue that Asians aren't bad drivers? They are the worst. It's common knowledge that China is the most dangerous country in the world for drivers. This is why you will see Asians ONLY going to Asian driving schools in Flushing. They pass them. Asian Americans however can drive like everyone else. There's a reason my damn car insurance is higher in 2019 than it was in 1989 when I got my license. ASIANS.
Jan. 7, 1:17 am
Honkey from Whiteystone says:
How come white drivers can't drive and think at the same time? They can't navigate a turnabout, requiring traffic lights to tell them when stop or go. They are probably afraid of entering a turnabout, giving their genetic instinct is to turn left like every NASCAR race that ever took place, thus crash head-on into oncoming traffic.
Jan. 11, 5:08 pm
Rob Reynolds from Flushing says:
Just to correct a few points: The time in the story is wrong. This happened prior to 7am so it was not plenty light out yet. 2nd: the woman who was hit was not Asian nor was she a kid. The driver was not Asian either. Yes you are right that she crossed illegally but literally everybody does at that exact spot whenever the escalator is broken. You can blame the victim if you want but rather than that I'd suggest it's a design flaw in the street. If literally everybody behaves the exact same way (crossing illegally where there is no cross-walk) then that means it's a design flaw and you can't blame the individual 100%. My suggestion is to make that whole block a pedestrian plaza. Too many drivers and too many pedestrians here. It's unsafe, and not convenient. Cars have become a nuisance to the vast majority of us who walk/bike/take mass transit and it's time we use our collective voices to demand that pedestrians have priority over our public space. I am a driver and I live on Roosevelt Avenue and I want driving to be more inconvenient. The number of cars on the road is bad for the environment, bad for the cleanliness and safety of our streets, and it lowers the quality of life for the residents of Flushing. We need to think outside the box and consider bold ideas if we want to take on the immense challenges that we face: the climate crisis, public safety, and quality of life improvements.
Jan. 16, 6:40 am

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