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Drivers on the streets surrounding a bustling Queens shopping center in Rego Park need to slow down, based on records compiled by the city Department of Transportation.
In an effort to curb pedestrian accidents, the DOT unveiled traffic-calming measures to Community Board 6 at a March 14 meeting that would slow traffic on busy thoroughfares 62nd Drive and 63rd Avenue near the Rego Center Mall in Rego Park.
According to DOT records, 121 people, including 41 pedestrians, were injured along 62nd Drive from Queens Boulevard to 112th Street between 2005 and 2009. During the same period, 192 people were injured along 63rd Road from Queens Boulevard to 112th Street.
The city agency plans to remove one travel lane and widen parking lanes on 63rd Road, and the CB 6 Transportation Committee agreed to allow back-in parking along Junction Boulevard between 62nd Drive and Queens Boulevard.
The angled parking on Junction Boulevard will add 10 new spaces to the congested block by the mall.
The plan also calls for narrower lanes on 62nd Drive to reduce speeding while splitting the road into three lanes for a left turn-only, through traffic and right turn-only as it approaches Queens Boulevard.
Frank Gulluscio, district manager of CB 6, said a large senior citizen population also frequents the crowded streets surrounding the mall.
According to Gulluscio, this is the main reason to ease drivers off the gas.
“There was some noticeable discussion in the community about slowing down traffic and adding parking spots,” he said. “It’s a dangerous area. The DOT and the community did the right thing by opening the dialogue to improve the safety for everyone on those streets.”
Rego Center opened in the spring of 2010 and boasts stores like Century 21, Costco and Kohl’s. Since opening, CB 6 said the mall has significantly increased traffic in the neighborhood, while adding a dangerous obstacle course for seniors.
According to the DOT, senior citizens make up 12 percent of the city’s population, but account for 36 percent of pedestrian fatalities.
“These measures could greatly increase safety for senior citizens,” Gulluscio said. “This is something we have been studying since the mall was built. The increased volume and the high population of the area are a recipe for disaster.”
The DOT said work will begin in June and is expected to be completed in July.
Reach reporter Steve Mosco by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-260-4546.
©2012 Community Newspaper Group
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