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DOT says safety measures cut traffic fatalities in Queens

Queens DOT Commissioner Maura McCarthy updates the Borough Board on the agency's initiatives for 2012. Photo by Howard Koplowitz
TimesLedger Newspapers

The final numbers are not in yet, but traffic deaths in Queens last year are expected to be at an all-time low, city Department of Transportation Queens Commissioner Maura McCarthy told the Borough Board Monday.

McCarthy said there were 67 traffic deaths in Queens last year, “which is quite an accomplishment.

“The numbers are still being reconcilable, but we believe it will be an all-time low,” McCarthy said.

She attributed the low number of traffic deaths to DOT actions such as speed humps and signs as well as enforcement by the NYPD.

DOT marketing campaigns, including the “That’s Why It’s 30” campaign, were contributors, McCarthy said.

The advertising blitz informs motorists that a person hit at 30 miles an hour has a 75 percent chance of surviving while someone struck at 35 miles an hour has a 50-50 chance of living.

McCarthy also told the board that the DOT is seeking legislation to install speed cameras along speeding corridors.

The cameras work like red light cameras, which McCarthy said help reduce car accidents.

“We have found that speeding is a big contributor to deaths in our city,” McCarthy said.

DOT is proposing that motorists who are caught speeding between 1 mph and 5 mph over the speed limit should be fined $50.

Violators who speed between 10 mph and 20 mph would face a $75 ticket and anyone going 30 mph over the speed limit would be fined $150.

McCarthy said work to install countdown signals, like the ones on major thoroughfares, should be completed by May or early June. She said signals along Hillside Avenue and Northern Boulevard will be the last locations to get the signals.

The agency also has a goal of repaving 310 lane miles, defined as a stretch of road 12 feet wide and a mile long, in Queens by the end of the year.

Another area that DOT is working on is improving bus access at LaGuardia Airport, which McCarthy said would benefit the surrounding community.

“We’re hoping that bus access to the airport will improve bus access to the rest of the residents,” she said.

McCarthy said DOT is also working on parking improvements that should be done by the end of June, which means the end of the old-style parking meters.

“All of Queens will have Muni-Meters,” she said.

The new machines are able to change the rate of parking based on the time of day and the demand, McCarthy said.

But the meters will only have changing rates if the community wants it.

Reach reporter Howard Koplowitz by e-mail at hkoplowitz@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4573.

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Dan from Sunnyside says:
About time! I sincerely hope there's a speed camera on every single block of Queens Boulevard.
Jan. 17, 2012, 9:41 am

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