NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Mayor Bill de Blasio is being called out for not finishing a major project that could save lives.
Families living along Queens Boulevard are tired of the endless accidents and injuries. Lizi Rahman lost her son there 11 years ago, and said de Blasio is not upholding his promise to make it safer.
“He was hit by a freight truck and died instantly and his untimely death … he was only 22 years old,” Rahman told CBS2’s Christina Fan.
Advocates gathered at MacDonald Park in Forest Hills on Sunday to pressure City Hall. Families said the city rolled out a plan in 2015 to make the road safer and it has, but the last phase, from Yellowstone Boulevard to Union Turnpike, still hasn’t been completed. CBS2 asked the mayor for answers but his office did not respond.
“It’s really sad that it hasn’t been done yet,” Rahman said. “We have come to a point that Mayor de Blasio seems like he abandoned us.”
“We know it works. It’s simple. It shouldn’t get caught up in politics, political deals,” City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer said. “Just make it happen, do the right thing, save lives and complete the protected bike lane network that we all know we must have.”
The redesign project is supposed to add more protective bike lanes and other safety features, like widening pedestrian spaces in intersections. But not all residents have been supportive.
“A lot of bikers, and maybe this will change over time, they are not respective of the laws, just like motorcycles. They don’t believe in lights or stop signs,” one person said.
But supporters say statistics show the project is saving lives. In the redesigned portion in Elmhurst, advocates say there has been a 55 percent reduction in pedestrian crashes.
“Queens Boulevard is a very dangerous place. You are scared to cross here and you really have to be very careful,” one person said.
Families are afraid the stalled work will result in the road reverting to its old namesake — “The Boulevard of Death” — in their neighborhood.