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Vision Zero in Queens: Preventing Traffic and Pedestrian Deaths

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The most dangerous streets in Queens for pedestrians include Queens, Woodhaven and Junction boulevards. Half of all pedestrian fatalities and severe injuries occurred on these streets. On Tuesday, officials revealed their plan to make these and other dangerous streets in Queens safer. According to DNAinfo.com, The plan includes more speed limit signs and better-timed traffic lights. Improvements in these priority corridors are part of Vision Zero, the mayor's plan to reduce fatalities and catastrophic injuries.

According to the city's Department of Transportation (DOT), most crashes in Queens occur in densely populated neighborhoods such as Sunnyside, Jackson Heights, Flushing Jamaica and Elmhurst. These are among the priority areas identified by the DOT.

In addition to getting more signs and improved sequencing of traffic lights, many intersections in the priority areas will see pedestrian islands and improved lighting under elevated trains and transportation hubs. The report also calls for increased enforcement in the priority areas.

Vision Zero was announced about a year ago. Since then, the number of traffic fatalities and pedestrian deaths has declined to below the number for 1910 - the first year the city began keeping statistics. Traffic deaths overall were down 15 percent and pedestrian fatalities were fewer by 27 percent in 2014 compared to 2013, according to the Times Newsweekly, a publication serving Brooklyn and Queens.

Reporting on Vision Zero projects in Brooklyn and Queens, the Times Newsweekly noted the projects that had already been completed:

  • Corridor safety improvements on Broadway in Woodside and Elmhurst
  • Pedestrian safety islands at Northern Boulevard and 61st Street
  • Improvements on Queens Boulevard in Rego Park
  • Pedestrian safety changes at the BQE and 37th Avenue
  • Improvements at Queens Boulevard and Yellowstone Boulevard as well as 71st Avenue
  • Mobility and corridor safety improvements along Woodhaven Boulevard

One of the first Queens projects scheduled for 2015 is the redesign of the intersection at Hillside Avenue and Metropolitan Avenue in Richmond Hill. Based on the evidence from 2014, Vision Zero is off to a good start.