The uneasy intersection at Bell and Northern boulevards will have a left-turn signal before too long after requests from neighborhood officials. City Councilman Paul Vallone (D-Bayside), Bayside Hills Civic Association President Michael Feiner and state Assemblyman Edward Braunstein (D-Bayside) reached out to DOT to study the intersection for the viability of a left turn signal and were told Oct. 6 that the dream would become a reality.
According to Vallone, the attempt to have a left turn signal at what he calls one of the busiest intersections in his district has been repeated for up to two years.
“When we get a green light for a left turn signal, we’re really excited these days,” he said. “But now Bell and Northern are going to have that long-awaited left-hand turn signal. We’ve all precariously taken our chance making that turn over the years.”
DOT took into account factors such as peak hours for left turns, the number of accidents that have occurred at the intersection and the average number of opportunities for commuters to make a left turn between streams of oncoming traffic, according to a letter issued to Vallone from Queens DOT Commissioner Nicole Garcia.
The intersection of 26th Avenue and Corporal Kennedy Street are next on Vallone’s to-do list for left turn signals. He hopes to make walking safer for the senior centers and schools in the area.
“Anybody who is familiar with that intersection or who has tried to make a left-hand turn down Northern recognizes that there is a need for a turn signal there,” said Braunstein, who submitted a letter to Garcia about exploring the safety options for the intersection. “It’s very difficult to see oncoming traffic coming down Bell Boulevard. It creates a dangerous situation and when combined with the heavy amount of pedestrian traffic crossing that street, really make it necessary for a turn signal.”
Feiner has been at the forefront of the effort to get the signal installed, which had been years in the making. The traffic flow from Rite-Aid and the White Castle at the northwest corner contributes to the traffic congestion at the Northern and Bell, he said.
“It should have been a no-brainer, even the cops at the 111th [Precinct] knew the situation at that intersection was bad,” Feiner said. “I’m really happy, I’m getting a really good response from the community.”
Vallone said the signal is expected to be installed around March 2017.
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