Press Releases

Press Release #17-008
Friday, March 3, 2017
Scott Gastel/Gloria Chin (212) 839-4850

Vision Zero: NYC DOT and Elected Officials Unveil Safety Improvements at Northern Boulevard and 48th Street in Queens

Complex five-legged intersection at Astoria/Sunnyside border sits along Northern Boulevard, a Vision Zero Priority Corridor -- less than a mile from intersection where Mayor Bill de Blasio first launched Vision Zero in January 2014

The New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) Commissioner Polly Trottenberg was today joined by City Council Majority Leader Jimmy Van Bramer, Transportation Alternatives and Community Board 2 to unveil safety improvements at 48th Street and Northern Boulevard, part of the New York City’s Vision Zero efforts. The project brings an array of safety improvements to reduce conflicts between pedestrians and motorists, and make it easier for buses to navigate the complex intersection. Northern Boulevard has received special attention as a Vision Zero Priority Corridor; in 2014, Mayor Bill de Blasio launched Vision Zero at a Woodside intersection – at 61st Street and Northern Boulevard, where 8-year old Noshat Nahian had been killed walking to school -- less than a mile east of this intersection.

“Three years since Mayor de Blasio first came to Queens to give us our marching orders on Vision Zero, New York City has seen three successive years of fatality declines,” said Commissioner Trottenberg. “While we of course have much more work to do, we are proud of the progress of DOT’s traffic planners, designers and engineers to reduce traffic fatalities on challenging streets like Northern Boulevard. We are also grateful for the support and leadership of elected officials like Council Member Van Bramer, who always shares real community concerns about how we can make intersections like this one even safer.”

“Not one more child, pedestrian, cyclist or motorist should die or be injured along the Northern Boulevard corridor," said New York City Council Majority Leader Jimmy Van Bramer. "The safety improvements being implemented along Northern Boulevard are essential as we continue along our quest to make Vision Zero a reality. We will continue working to make safety improvements throughout western Queens until our streets are truly safe for all.”

Majority Leader Van Bramer had requested DOT make safety improvements to this specific intersection, among others within his district. DOT data show that in the five years between 2010 and 2014, two pedestrians were seriously injured at this intersection.

As part of its ongoing work addressing the Northern Boulevard corridor and in the first year of a three-phase project, DOT implemented the following safety improvements at the five-legged intersection of 48th Street, 34th Avenue and Northern Boulevard:

  • Created a new concrete pedestrian island on Northern Boulevard at the western edge of the intersection.
  • Added two new crosswalks: one at the western edge and one at the northern part of the intersection east of Dwyer Square, the small park at the edge of the intersection.
  • Added a curb extension where 34th Avenue meets 48th Street to shorten the crosswalk distance along the northern segment of the intersection.
  • Reversed 48th Street to one-way northbound from Northern Boulevard to Broadway, which is expected to facilitate MTA/NYCT buses being able to navigate the challenging intersection.
  • Marked two moving lanes on 48th Street south of the intersection

“This particular intersection has been chaotic for years, an area with two different shopping centers and a complicated pattern for pedestrians, cyclists and motorists to navigate. I hope these safety improvements will reduce accidents and traffic related injuries,” said State Senator Jose Peralta. “Enhancing road safety is vital to preventing crashes, and I applaud the Department of Transportation for putting in place this particular project to improve our safety.”

"The Department of Transportation is taking an important step toward Vision Zero in Queens by bringing these urgently needed safety improvements to Northern Boulevard," said Paul Steely White, Executive Director of Transportation Alternatives. "We thank Commissioner Trottenberg, Council Majority Leader Van Bramer and Community Board 2 for their leadership to prevent traffic deaths and injuries at this hazardous intersection, bringing this Vision Zero Priority Corridor closer to meeting the Vision Zero Street Design Standard."

Other Vision Zero work completed on Northern Boulevard in recent years includes concrete median extensions/tips being added at several intersections along the corridor. DOT also intends to add a total of 14 pedestrian safety islands along the Northern Boulevard corridor from 39th Avenue to Broadway.

About Vision Zero
In January 2017, after a third successive year of record-low traffic fatalities, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced New York City would make an additional $400 million investment in Vision Zero – for a total of $1.6 billion over the next five years. DOT is implementing its most aggressive street redesign safety program, an increased investment in street redesign and traffic-calming measures citywide. Other Vision Zero changes announced by the Mayor include ensuring NYPD crossing guards at every post, faster replacement of street markings, intersection upgrades in the bike-lane network, more left-turn calming efforts, brighter lighting and more equipment at each police precinct to catch speeding.

For more information about the de Blasio Administration’s Vision Zero initiative, please see

Northern Boulevard/ 34th Street/ 48th Street Intersection: Before

Northern Boulevard/ 34th Street/ 48th Street Intersection: After
Before and After photos of the Northern Boulevard/ 34th Street/ 48th Street Intersection