The Council of the City of New York
Office of Council Member Costa Constantinides
(718) 274-4500

For Immediate Release
February 17, 2016
Contact: Shachar Sharon

Traffic Safety Mitigation Planned for Streets Surrounding Astoria Park

Astoria, N.Y. – Traffic safety mitigation measures will soon be implemented on the streets surrounding Astoria Park. Queens Community Board 1 yesterday voted overwhelmingly to approve a New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) plan for safety improvements on Shore Boulevard, 20th Avenue, and Hoyt Avenue North.

The upgrades will reduce speeding, create safer gateways to Astoria Park, enhance the connections between the park and the waterfront, strengthen bike lane connections, improve the connection between the park and the RFK Bridge, increase ADA accessibility, and improve traffic safety for children using the ball fields on 20th Avenue. The DOT plans to complete these improvements by the end of this summer.

This plan was drafted using community input that was given at a public workshop in Fall 2015. That workshop was scheduled following the death of a 21-year-old woman by a car crash near Astoria Park in July 2015. Since 2009, there have been several deaths and over 100 injuries near the park.

The Shore Boulevard traffic safety measures include a conversion into a one-way street with no reduction in parking, the installation of a protected bike lane on the roadway that’s away from the path of pedestrians, and ADA accessible curb extensions. These upgrades will calm traffic, better separate cyclists with pedestrians, and shorten the crossing distance for pedestrians.

The 20th Avenue measures include the installation of a 2-way parking protected bike path and narrowing the roadway. A recent DOT study found that 88% of drivers on 20th Avenue are speeding. These upgrades will extend the greenway experience from Astoria Park, reduce speeding and drag racing, improve pedestrian safety by shortening the crossing distance for children using the ICYP and Federation of Italian Societies ball fields.

The Hoyt Avenue measures include the installation of a 2-way protected bike path and removing one through-lane for cars. These upgrades will create a safe bike connection between the RFK Bridge and the waterfront, calm vehicular traffic, and keep pedestrians, bike, and vehicles separate. Left-turn signals will be added at Crescent and 23rd Streets to allow the flow of traffic to be safer and orderly at either corner aiming to reduce backup during rush hour times.

Officials heralded the plan and voiced support for the traffic safety measures.

Council Member Costa Constantinides said, “I am proud that the community board voted overwhelmingly to support these measures. This plan will deeply improve traffic safety throughout Astoria for our pedestrians, drivers, and cyclists. The stronger connection between the waterfront, Astoria Park, and residents will be an asset for our entire neighborhood. The increased ADA accessibility will benefit seniors, as well as families with small children in strollers. The updates will bring greater traffic sanity to the streets around the jewel of our neighborhood, Astoria Park. This plan is a great step forward. I will be working with our community and DOT as we implement it and continue our conversation about the streets surrounding Astoria Park. I commend the DOT for their attention to this important issue.”

“These welcome changes will improve access to Astoria Park and make our community safer,” said Assemblymember Aravella Simotas. “I am pleased that by working together we reached a compromise on Shore Boulevard that calms speeding and dangerous driving and preserves vehicle access to the waterfront. I look forward to working with the community, my colleagues and the Department of Transportation to address our continuing traffic safety concerns throughout the neighborhood.”

“We are proud to support these plans that will greatly improve traffic safety along Shore Boulevard, 20th Avenue, and Hoyt Avenue North. These updates will enhance the park-going experience for all Astorians,” said Community Board 1 Chairman Joseph Risi and District Manager Florence Koulouris.

“We are pleased to install these traffic-calming measures around Astoria Park following insightful discussions with local stakeholders over the past few months,” said DOT Queens Borough Commissioner Nicole Garcia. “The projects create safer cycling connections to the park and shorten crossing distances for pedestrians of every age to enjoy and experience the waterfront.”

Central Astoria Local Development Coalition Executive Director Marie Torniali said, “I am very pleased to see these safety improvements in the Astoria Park and its surrounding area. I commend Council Member Constantinides, Assemblywoman Simotas and DOT for their expeditious response to the concerns of area residents. While there is more work to be done, the relocation of the bike lane to Shore Boulevard and safety improvements on 20th Avenue and Hoyt Avenue North with no loss of parking is a testament to good things being accomplished when community, elected officials, and agencies work together.”