New Astoria councilman calls for a safer 21st Street
by Andrew Shilling
Jan 22, 2014 | 733 views | 0 0 comments | 10 10 recommendations | email to a friend | print
With no traffic lights along 21st Street between 34th Avenue and Broadway, residents say the speeding cars, mixed with an outdated thoroughfare, have made for dangerous conditions for pedestrians and motorists alike.

For his first order of business as the new councilman, Costa Constantinides called on the Department of Transportation (DOT) to conduct a traffic study along a stretch of 21st Street, as well as a traffic light at 33rd Road.

Constantinides and supporters stood blocks from Long Island City High School, I.S. 126 and numerous senior centers like the Vallone Family Residence center last week to call for these safety measures in light of the recent Vision Zero initiative by Mayor Bill de Blasio.

“We have so many things happening on 21st Street, seniors and residents crossing the street on a daily basis as our neighborhood grows and expands,” Constantinides said at a press conference at 21st Street and 33rd Road last week. “The street has to be safe and it cannot be a game of Frogger while they are doing simple things like getting milk or going to class.”

Assemblywoman Aravella Simotas said the lack of traffic control along 21st Street is simply, “unacceptable,” but says that DOT has been unresponsive.

“The DOT has repeatedly denied my requests for enhanced safety measures at this location, and has yet to answer my legal demand for a report setting forth the reasoning for declining to take action,” Simotas said.

Simotas said she would continue to put pressure on DOT and work with Constantinides to bring some relief to those who live and work along 21st Street.

“It is our goal to ensure safety for all pedestrians, especially many senior citizens who live in the area,” she said.

Steve Scofield, co-chair of Transportation Alternatives’ Queens Activist Committee, said he fears the increase in population along the road has only added to the dangerous road conditions.

“For far too long, 21st Street has been a dangerous, inhospitable thoroughfare that poses a threat to the safety and well being of Astoria and Long Island City,” Scofield said. “We call on the DOT to institute traffic-calming measures to make 21st Street a safer street that serves all users and that will unite our community.”
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