So many New Yorkers have been injured or died in traffic accidents on Queens Boulevard that it has been nicknamed the “Boulevard of Death”. Fixing and redesigning Queens Boulevard to make it safer was one of the priorities of the Vision Zero program launched in 2014. The plan to redesign the boulevard was approved and launched in 2015. While part of the boulevard has been redesigned, a whole area from Yellow Stone Boulevard to Union Turnpike that has a dangerous records of accidents was never addressed. As the mayor’s office wouldn’t update residents as to when the project would be finished, safety advocates held a rally on Sunday pressing de Blasio to complete its work in one of the most deadly areas in the city. Residents feel like they have been lied to and abandoned said a mother who lost her son after he was hit by a truck in this dangerous segment of Queens Boulevard. The redesign of Queens Boulevard between Yellow Stone Boulevard and Union Turnpike includes the addition of a protected bike lane and safety features for pedestrians. In the areas of Queens Boulevard that were redesigned, 3 people died in traffic accidents since 2015 compared to up to 25 people per year before the redesign. Pedestrian accidents decreased by 55% and pedestrian injuries by 63%.
Not everybody is in favor of the redesign and according to an article in NY Streetblog, activists are claiming that Mayor de Blasio made a secret deal with a Queens council member to stop the completion of the protected bike lane. Activists and Council member Jimmy Van Brammer are alleging that Council Member Karen Koslowitz signed a secret pact with de Blasio that she would vote for his proposal to close Rikers Island if he would put a stop to the redesign of the Boulevard of Death.