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Senator George Onorato Calls for Department of Transportation Safety Study at Columbus Triangle in Astoria


March 17, 2009

Honorable Janette Sadik-Khan
New York City Department
of Transportation
40 Worth Street
New York, NY  10013

Dear Commissioner Sadik-Khan:

 I am writing to draw your attention to a very serious safety issue for pedestrians seeking to enter the N/W subway line at the southeast corner of Astoria Boulevard and 31st Street in my Senate District at a park known as Columbus Triangle. According to volunteer studies conducted by the Transportation Alternatives Queens Committee, nearly 800 pedestrians per hour attempt to cross the intersection to the subway entrance during peak hours, and 90 percent of these people zigzag through car traffic to get to the entrance. 

Clearly, this holds great potential for danger, both for pedestrians and drivers.  Currently, the configuration of the intersection leads pedestrians approaching from the east and south to traverse a crosswalk to a dangerously unprotected traffic island located between eight lanes of traffic.  Lamp posts, parked DOT vehicles, and other obstructions on the island – along with the fact that the site is next to high-speed traffic exiting the expressway – often lead pedestrians to avoid this unsafe area and jaywalk across four lanes of traffic to reach the subway entrance.

There is no question that there is a very serious safety and circulation problem at the Columbus Triangle subway interest that needs attention and significant reconfiguration.  In this light, I urge the City DOT to conduct a comprehensive and timely study of the area with the goal of ensuring greater safety for pedestrians and motorists alike.  I know that we both share the same concern for safe and accessible public transit and roadways, and your attention to this very important matter would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you in advance for your consideration.  I look forward to hearing from you on any plans the DOT may have to address these significant safety issues in my Senate District.


      George Onorato
      State Senator, 12th District

State Senator, 12th District