Transportation Alternatives and dozens of safety advocates took to the streets to protest the safety conditions of the thoroughfare during the group’s Queens Boulevard Winter Wander event on Saturday, Dec. 14
Marchers met at the New Life Fellowship Church at 82-10 Queens Blvd and marched and chanted for a safer roadway from Elmhurst to 71st Street in Forest Hills to remember those who lost their lives on the boulevard and to call on the city to conduct a comprehensive safety study.
Peter Beadle, a Rego Park resident and member of Community Board 6, led the march. He said he hopes the city will invest in a study that looks at all options, like bike infrastructure, dedicated bus lanes and widening medians.
“When you look at boulevards around the world, they’re typically smaller and more narrow than Queens Boulevard and they do a whole lot more than what they have so that there’s space for pedestrians, mass transit and bicyclists,” Beadle said. “We really have a road that’s designed for motorists and everybody else is secondary.”
The group stopped at Queens Boulevard near Broadway in Elmhurst, where a 22-year-old driver lost control of his car and killed two pedestrians on Nov. 11, as well as a location just blocks away where a 22-year-old was struck and killed by a truck in 2008.
“We’re seeing more and more of these kinds of accidents on our streets,” Beadle said. “That’s because density is increasing and the roads aren’t adapting to change for that increase.”
As they continued their march, passersby joined in and drivers stopped to praise the group for their dedication in the wintery weather.
Steve Scofield, an Astoria resident and co-chair of Transportation Alternatives, said one major problem with Queens Boulevard is that it separates the north and south sides of the communities that it passes through.
“We know this is a long-haul project, and we know it’s not going to happen overnight,” Scofield said. “There have been too many people injured and too many people killed here.”
Councilman Daniel Dromm met with the protestors and joined the march at Queens Center Mall.
“This is a very, very serious issue, and we have to continue to stress the seriousness of this,” Dromm said. “When you look at the statistics, you’ll see there are more pedestrian deaths than there are murders in New York.”
Currently, 1,644 people have signed a petition on the Transportation Alternatives website, which also lists a comprehensive list of crashes on the boulevard.
Christian Amez, a representative of Woodside on the Move, said he hopes support for the movement continues to grow in his district as well.
“This is a step-by-step process,” Amez said. “We’ll do this march, and hopefully if they get enough signatures in Sunnyside and Woodside, which we’re hoping they will, we can bring this back over there.”