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Improve traffic safety at 21st Ave.: Officials

Astoria elected officials and community activists rallied last weekend at a site along 21st Avenue where they called for new traffic safety measures in the wake of a man being struck and killed while crossing the street last month.

Konstantinos Stayropoulos died after being hit by a car at the intersection of 21st Avenue and 23rd Street in Astoria Nov. 13, state Assemblyman Michael Gianaris (D-Astoria) said.

But the assemblyman, who was joined at the Saturday rally by City Councilman Peter Vallone Jr. (D-Astoria), Democratic District Leader Costa Constantinides and a number of neighborhood residents, said the community had warned the city Department of Transportation that an accident at the site was bound to happen due to its lack of stop signs, speed bumps or street lights on 21st Avenue between 21st and 28th streets.

“The DOT must take swift action to install traffic controls at this intersection and ensure this tragedy is never repeated,” Gianaris said. “Our streets are full of pedestrians and cyclists — many of them children on their way to and from school.”

Constantinides said two schools — PS 122 and St. John’s Prep High School — as well as the Kid Krazy daycare center are within a seven-block radius of the intersection.

“This community cannot afford a delay in installing traffic-calming measures along this avenue,” Constantinides said. “Every day DOT delays in dealing with this dangerous dilemma, the children attending the schools and day-care center, people with disabilities and all residents crossing the avenue are at risk. As a lifelong resident of Astoria, I know that drivers in this community use 21st Avenue as the quick route to avoid the traffic of Ditmars Boulevard, rendering it the speed-lane of Astoria.”

The community leaders were joined at the rally by the Long Island City Alliance, Transportation Alternatives Queens Volunteer Committee, Astoria Moms Group and members of neighborhood civic organizations.

Constantinides said several car accidents have occurred in the past 18 months near the intersection.

Vallone had previously called for a traffic study at that corner in 2006, but it never materialized. Last weekend, he again called on the city to review the site.

“As a resident of 21st Avenue and a mother, I find it very disturbing that the DOT has failed to recognize the need for more attention to the increased traffic on 21st Avenue and the speed at which it travels. Is it going to take another fatality to get their attention?”

Reach reporter Nathan Duke by e-mail at nduke@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 156.

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