Last week, we began discussing the five worst intersections in Queens in terms of car accidents and pedestrian fatalities. The worst intersection in all of Queens is located on the notorious “Boulevard of Death,” at Queens Boulevard and 69th street in Woodside. But the second worst, at Main Street and Franklin Avenue is in an altogether different neighborhood and merits a whole discussion of its own.
Flushing is one of the fastest growing neighborhoods in the entire city. It is home to a burgeoning immigrant community and serves as the business and cultural center for various groups. During the recession not a single home was foreclosed on. Construction sites are everywhere, as new high rises, hotels and malls are built to accommodate the influx of new residents.
The problem lies in the fact that the infrastructure needs have not kept up with the growing population. The intersection of Main Street and Franklin Avenue is close to the center of the transit hub, near the intersection where Main Street and Kissena Boulevard, two congested arterial streets converge. The LIRR station is at this intersection and one block to the north, at Roosevelt Avenue the 7 train terminates. More than 20 bus lines terminate in the immediate vicinity.
The sidewalks and crosswalks are nearly at capacity, bursting with pedestrians: commuters, residents, shoppers, and street vendors, all bustling around. The roads are just as choked and congested.
In 2014, there were seven collisions at Main Street and Franklin, but the whole neighborhood has been shaken by a series of accidents in recent years.
In March of 2014, an SUV driver while illegally crossing Main Street in the crosswalk killed four-year-old Allison Liao and her 71-year-old grandmother Chin Hua. The accident took place on Main and Cherry Street, one block from Franklin Avenue. Her parents, Hsi-Pei and Amy Liao saw the tragic accident on another driver’s dashboard camera and have become strong advocates for Vision Zero, the city’s initiative to completely eliminate pedestrian fatalities.
In fact, all of Main Street, between Northern Boulevard and Queens Boulevard is one of the main corridors the New York City Department of Transportation will target for Vision Zero improvements, by redesigning roads and reducing speed limits, among other tactics, according to Queens Chronicle article dated Feb. 19. There are no current or pending projects listed on the DOT website as of press time.
Flushing is exactly what many would call a “congested nightmare” and the statistics for car accidents and pedestrian fatalities show that improvements are necessary.