March 10, By Hannah Wulkan
The Department of Transportation is looking to add several traffic safety measures at a dangerous intersection outside a Forest Hills school.
The department is planning to add a traffic safety island on 108th Street outside of P.S. 220, near the Horace Harding South Service Road, as part of its Vision Zero initiative, an effort aimed at increasing pedestrian, bike and vehicle safety throughout the city.
According to DOT plans, the island would break up the 62-foot crossing distance in front of the school.
Currently, there is a 15-foot wide painted buffer in the center of the street, but the pedestrian island would allow a safer passage across the street, especially for children walking to school, the DOT pointed out in a presentation to Community Board 6 in January.
Pedestrian islands have been shown to reduce pedestrian accidents by 46 percent and vehicle crashes by 39 percent, according to the presentation.
In addition to adding a pedestrian island, the DOT is also looking to add leading pedestrian intervals, which give pedestrians a 7 second head start to cross the street before the traffic lights change. This allows pedestrians to get to the middle of the street before the lights change, allowing for better visibility to drivers turning on to the street.
The proposal would not affect traffic flow or take away any parking, the DOT pointed out.