Feb. 22, 2018 By Tara Law
Upcoming changes to Steinway Street in Astoria aim to make it easier for pedestrians to cross the busy corridor.
The Department of Transportation plans to install three mid-block crosswalks and traffic signals along Steinway Street between 30th and 34th avenues this spring.
The changes aim to make it safer for pedestrians when crossing the bustling strip. The new design is part of Councilmember Costa Constantinides’ 2017 plan to promote Steinway Street as a shopping destination.
Currently pedestrians who want to cross Steinway Street either put their lives at risk by making a quick dash for it or walk to the corner, cross at the light and then walk all the way around.
“The blocks on Steinway are easily the length of two city blocks and walking to either end is a chore,” said Marie Torniali, executive director of the Steinway Astoria Partnership and the chair of Community Board 1. “Mid-block crossings will make it easier and safer for shoppers and residents to cross the street.”
Constantinides said that he has heard many complaints from businesses and residents about safety—since many pedestrians cross mid block. Many residents complain about the distance between crosswalks, given the size of the blocks.
The new design aims to discourage jaywalking, which the DOT says is a significant problem along the route.
The DOT will also make other safety enhancements as part of the changes, such as curb extensions and leading pedestrian intervals, which give pedestrians three to five seconds to cross before cars get a green light.
Several parking spaces will be eliminated to accommodate the redesign. Constantinides said that he doesn’t know the exact number since the project is still in the design phase.
Assemblymember Aravella Simotas said that she hopes the crossings will help businesses along the corridor.
“Mid-block crossings are a great way to preserve and grow the appeal of Steinway Street, which still has untapped potential as a go-to destination for shopping, eating out or simply sharing a great cup of coffee with friends,” Simotas said.