Jan. 15, 2016 By Michael Florio
Traffic lights will soon be installed on 21st Avenue, six years after an Astoria man was hit by a car and killed while crossing the busy street.
Councilman Costa Constantinides, alongside other local officials and community advocates, announced that the Department of Transportation will install traffic lights along 21st Avenue in late April at the intersections of 23rd Street, 24th Street and Crescent Street.
This announcement comes six years after Konstantinos Stayropoulos, an Astoria resident, was killed while attempting to cross at the intersection with 23rd Street in December 2009.
For the two thirds of a mile stretch between Shore Boulevard and 31st Street, there are just two traffic lights, at 21st Street and 28th Street, and no stop signs.
“Residents should feel safe crossing the street in their own neighborhood,” Constantinides said. “Today we are making that happen.”
“This is a great victory,” he added.
State Sen. Michael Gianaris pointed out the high number of children who walk along the busy street.
“This is an area where a lot of young people walk and the danger is imminent,” he said.
The road is a conduit for three schools: P.S. 122, St. John’s Preparatory and Kid Krazy daycare center.
State Sen. Jose Peralta echoed Gianaris’ sentiment, stating that protecting residents, especially children, has to be a priority.
Constantinides began calling for traffic safety improvements to the corridor after the fatal collision in 2009, when he was serving as District Leader. Both he and Peralta faulted the former Bloomberg administration for the long wait.
A speed bump was installed on 21st Avenue near 26th Street in 2010, but Constantinides said more changes were still needed.
“It is sad that we had to wait six years for results,” Peralta told the Astoria Post. “I’m very happy to see these results implemented.”
“It’s very gratifying,” Constantinides said about the traffic light announcement. “Even though the old administration told us no, we never gave up.”
Constantinides told the Astoria Post that although he fell out of touch with the Stayropoulos family, he hopes to have made them proud.
“I hope that they feel ensured that their family member dying meant something and will never be in vain,” he said.
The Councilman added that more traffic safety measures are still in the works.
He announced that the DOT is currently conducting speed hump studies along 21st Avenue, from 21st Street to 28th Street, as well as on Ditmars Boulevard between 19th Street and 21st Street, Ditmars Boulevard between Shore Boulevard and 19th Street, 24th Street between 21st Avenue and Ditmars Boulevard, Crescent Street between 20th Avenue and 24th Avenue, Constantinides announced.