D.O.T. Declares: Center Median Will ‘Improve Safety’
Center Median Will ‘Improve Safety’
In response to an inquiry made by Community Board 14 District Manager Jonathan Gaska, the New York City Department of Transportation assessed the impact of the center median to be constructed along Rockaway Beach Boulevard from Beach 141 Street to Beach 125 Street. The safety study specifically dealt with St. Francis de Sales School and the area between Beach 128 and Beach 130 streets.
In a letter to Gaska, D.O.T. Queens Borough Commissioner Joseph Cannisi said, "With regard to the installation of a center median on Rockaway Beach Boulevard, we believe it will help slow traffic at all times and should improve safety around the school because parents will be forced to pick up and drop off their children more expeditiously."
Cannisi added, "The mall will assist children in crossing Rockaway Beach Boulevard by providing a safe refuge to wait on and reducing the crossing distance."
As the situation is presently, children have to cross Beach 129 Street and walk between parked vehicles in order to board their buses. D.O.T. officials observed a safety concern regarding double-parked school buses in the bus stop for the Green Line Q22 on the north side of Rockaway Beach Boulevard. To mitigate this safety concern, a new order was issued to extend parking for school buses on the west side of Beach 129 Street to accommodate five buses.
Cannisi also explained that the construction of the median will "improve safety in front of St. Francis de Sales School by providing a wider sidewalk on the north side of Rockaway Beach Boulevard between Beach 129 and Beach 130 streets."
The result of this safety assessment is a big win for the Rockaway Park Association and Belle Harbor Property Owners Association, who have advocated for the extension of the center median as a means of enhancing safety, beauty and property values in the community.
"The Department of Transportation’s safety study supports our claim that the median will provide increased protection for our children and seniors when they cross the street," said John McLoughlin, chairman of the Rockaway Park Association. "The communities of Rockaway Park and Belle Harbor have overwhelmingly supported this median and we are grateful to Jon Gaska, Assemblywoman Pheffer, and Borough President Shulman for making it a reality. They deserve credit for bringing home the bacon and adding to the value, beauty and safety of our neighborhood."
The Department of Transportation Division of School Safety Education will arrange a safety presentation before the end of the school year at St. Francis de Sales. The presentation will include a segment on advising students how to cross using the island as a safety area.