Long Island City, NY—April 24, 2014—Determined to prevent another fatal traffic accident near its campus, LaGuardia Community College released a comprehensive traffic study on Thomson Avenue, a heavily trafficked boulevard that was the site of a fatal traffic accident involving a high school student.
“For years, LaGuardia has been concerned about the pedestrian and vehicular safety of its students, faculty and staff,” said Dr. Gail O. Mellow, president of LaGuardia Community College, who noted that over 50,000 students, more than 2,500 faculty and staff, and five high schools with more than 2,000 students make this a high traffic pedestrian corridor.”
She went on to say, “LaGuardia urges the city to rapidly make the necessary improvements for both pedestrian and vehicular safety by making modifications on Thomson Avenue, between Skillman Avenue and Van Dam Street.”
The traffic study, conducted by Philip Habib & Associates, one of the city’s premier traffic engineering firms, recommends three steps as the most feasible changes that will improve safety for the students, faculty and staff who walk along Thomson Avenue.
The first recommendation calls for widening the sidewalks along Thomson Avenue by eliminating the southernmost eastbound lane. The report states that this would increase pedestrian circulation while allowing eastbound and westbound traffic to continue to flow smoothly. It was also create an essential buffer between vehicular traffic and the pedestrian traffic along the avenue.
The firm also suggests creating sidewalk bulb-outs, which are curb extensions used to extend the sidewalk, reducing the crossing distance and allowing pedestrians to cross, at select minor street crossings. Placements at the intersections along Thomson Avenue, the report states, would increase the queuing space for pedestrians, narrow the crossing distance and reduce conflicts between cars and pedestrians.
Modifying existing signal timing and phasing at select intersections is the final recommendation. This improvement would increase “green time” for pedestrians without diminishing the existing green time for traffic along Thomson Avenue.
To compile its recommendations, the firm measured hourly traffic volume along Thomson Avenue and at key intersections; and assessed signal timing, lane markings and curbside parking regulations. In addition, accident data available from the New York City Department of Transportation was reviewed.
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LaGuardia Community College located in Long Island City, Queens, was founded in 1971 as a bold experiment in opening the doors of higher education to all, and we proudly carry forward that legacy today. LaGuardia educates students through over 50 degree, certificate and continuing education programs, providing an inspiring place for students to achieve their dreams. Upon graduation, LaGuardia students’ lives are transformed as family income increases 17%, and students transfer to four-year colleges at three times the national average. Part of the City University of New York (CUNY), LaGuardia is a nationally recognized leader among community colleges for boundary-breaking success educating underserved students. At LaGuardia we imagine new ideas, create new curriculum and pioneer programs to make our community and our country stronger. Visit www.laguardia.edu to learn more.