Last year I wrote to DOT about safety concerns that neighbors who live near the Queens Midtown Expressway had. Since the LIE was built this roadway which runs from 74 St to 69 St is a straightaway and cars go fast. There is also an exit from the LIE onto it and nearby is the Midway Nursing Home where at many times trucks and ambulances double park.

I pointed out that the crosswalk was faded at 74 St and could possibly use a new technique that raises the crosswalk a little, to slow cars down. A neighbor who lives in the corner house has had over the years many cars that make the turn too fast and have slammed into parked cars and into his fence. The neighbor also requested a streetlight on the corner because it was so dark drivers have a hard time seeing pedestrians crossing the road. DOT installed the light two years ago and it has improved visibility greatly, but these are things DOT should have done 50 years ago.

After not receiving an answer from DOT I contacted Councilman Holden’s office in March, and they said DOT is studying the situation and improvements will be coming. DOT did make some safety improvements to the 57 Ave & 74 St intersection by Maspeth HS but didn’t paint the faded crosswalk nearby.

I was thinking DOT would definitely do a crosswalk near a school and one that many residents use as they walk to stores on Grand Ave, but no. In October I finally called DOT and they said because of the pandemic they are way behind in requests, and they would notify me when they knew something. I then called Councilman Holden’s office and they too again requested DOT to paint the crosswalk.

About a week later a DOT line painting crew came and painted lines in many of the crosswalks and stop signs around here but not the 74 St Crosswalk. I went and asked the crew supervisor and she said that crosswalk is not on her list, and it wasn’t actually done until November 23.

I guess the DOT is too busy making streets into play streets and making bike lanes all over the city even where they are not wanted or needed. The latest DOT fiasco is putting concrete Jersey barriers all along Queens Blvd. to protect the bike lanes. This will replace the rubber stanchions that were there. They permitted cars, trucks, and buses to go into the bike lane when a car or truck is double parked. Now traffic will just back up and for what? I have been on Queens Blvd many times and can count on one hand the number of bicyclists I see. Mostly I see delivery people on scooters using the bike lanes and usually going in the wrong direction. These barriers will only hurt local businesses and residents who have a hard enough time traveling and finding parking spots and also slow bus times as they wait for a truck making a delivery.

Anyone driving around the city can see many roadways with faded lines. Drivers now have to use their imaginations to decide where to drive. Maybe DOT has created more work than they can handle. A faded crosswalk by a school used to be a priority. Now it takes entirely too long to rectify.

On another note, for the last two months work has been taking place in the PS/IS73 school yard. There was no information on the fence to inform neighbors what was going on, so I went into the school to find out. The schoolyard is also a playground for after school and on weekends, and it is being upgraded.

Richard Polgar