Residents in Rego Park want to see major improvements to Queens Boulevard, one of its bustling corridors. In May Community Board Six voted unanimously on a resolution that called for a complete redesign, aiming to improve pedestrian safety while making the boulevard more attractive.
"This will be good for the neighborhood, we're excited about it," said Peter Beadle, a member of the transportation committee on Community Board Six. "It would make Rego Park more spectacular, more livable."
According to the community board, they received more than 3,300 signatures and 200 letters from businesses, schools, senior centers and community and faith-based organizations along Queens Boulevard, asking for it to be studied by the city Department of Transportation.
"We're hoping the DOT will work on it," Beadle said.
Beadle voiced many residents' concerns that the increasing commercial and residential development in the neighborhood and increasing population brings more pedestrians, cars and bikes to Rego Park's streets, increasing the likelihood of collisions, particularly on Queens Boulevard.
Known as "the boulevard of death," Queens Boulevard is one of New York City's most dangerous streets. According to the City’s Open Data website, since July 2012 there have been at least 244 pedestrian injuries and seven pedestrian deaths on Queens Boulevard. In 2013, six pedestrians died on the boulevard.
Some of the improvements that the community board wants to see include an increase in pedestrian space.
"The boulevard is about 200 feet wide yet a majority of it is dedicated to motor vehicles," Beadle said.
There is also a hope to bring more green space and designated bus lanes.
A DOT spokesperson said that safety on Queens Boulevard is a priority for the agency. The DOT is currently looking at ways to potentially boost safety along the corridor, noting that pedestrian countdown clocks were added in 2011, the representative said. The department expanded the medians and curbs on Queens Boulevard at Yellowstone Blvd, 71st Avenue, 67th Avenue and 62nd Drive this year.
The agency said it “continues to engage elected officials, community boards and other local stakeholders in the coming months in a conversation about Queens Boulevard safety."