Queens Boulevard

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A view down Queens Boulevard, near its intersection with Yellowstone Boulevard in Forest Hills.
Queens Boulevard starts off as a small 2-lane street at Jamaica Avenue, but becomes a 6 lane median-divided street at Hillside Avenue one block north.

Queens Boulevard is a major thoroughfare in the New York City borough of Queens connecting Midtown Manhattan, via the Queensboro Bridge, to Jamaica. It forms part of New York State Route 25.

Route[edit]

Queens Boulevard runs northwest to southeast across a little short of half the length of the borough, starting at Queens Plaza at the Queensboro Bridge entrance in Long Island City and running through the neighborhoods of Sunnyside, Woodside, Elmhurst, Rego Park, Forest Hills, Kew Gardens, and Briarwood before terminating at Jamaica Avenue in Jamaica. At 7.2 miles (11.6 km), it is one of the longest roads in Queens, and it runs through some of Queens' busiest areas. Much of the road is 12 lanes wide, and at its intersection with Yellowstone Boulevard in Forest Hills, it reaches a high point of 16 lanes. Along much of its length (between Roosevelt Avenue and Union Turnpike), the road includes six express lanes (three in each direction) and a three-lane-wide service road on each side. Drivers must first exit to the service road in order to make right turns or pull over; left turns must be made from the express lanes, but only at select cross-streets. It is known as the Boulevard of Death.[1] More crashes happen along Queens Boulevard than any other roadway statewide.[2][3]

Queens Boulevard is also the starting point of a number of the other major streets in Queens, such as Northern Boulevard, Woodhaven Boulevard, Junction Boulevard, Roosevelt Avenue, and Main Street.

History[edit]

Pedestrian crossing sign on Queens Boulevard at Grand Avenue in Elmhurst
At 59th Street, looking toward the East River and Manhattan, 1973

Queens Boulevard was built in the early 20th century to connect the new Queensboro Bridge to central Queens, thereby offering an easy outlet from Manhattan. It was created by linking and expanding already-existing streets, such as Thompson Avenue[4] and Hoffman Boulevard, stubs of which still exist. It was widened along with the digging of the IND Queens Boulevard Line subway tunnels in the 1920s and 1930s. In 1941, the city proposed converting it into a freeway, as was done with the Van Wyck Expressway, but with the onset of World War II, the plan was never completed.

Transportation[edit]

This street hosts one of the highest numbers of New York City Subway services in the city. The E F M R and the 7 <7> N Q all use stretches of the right of way; only Broadway (eight services), Sixth Avenue (seven) in Manhattan and Fulton Street (eight) in Brooklyn carry more at any one time. In addition, the Q60 bus travels its entire length, and the Q32 and Q59 buses travel for significant potions of the boulevard's length.[5]

For a few decades streetcar service operated along the avenue and until 1957 operated along the sides of the Queens Borough bridge into Manhattan.[6][7] For the section where the line ran congruent with the Flushing IRT elevated line the streetcars rain in a median below the viaduct supporting the elevated trains. In the space of the present-day Aviation High School there was a trainyard for the streetcars. [8]

Boulevard of Death[edit]

The combination of Queens Boulevard's immense width, heavy automobile traffic, and thriving commercial scene made it by the 1990s the most dangerous thoroughfare in New York City and has earned it city-wide notoriety and morbid nicknames such as "The Boulevard of Death"[9] and "The Boulevard of Broken Bones", similar to McGuinness Boulevard, Brooklyn's equivalent with the highest number of fatalities boroughwide. From 1993 to 2000, 72 pedestrians, were killed trying to cross the street, an average of 10 per year, with countless more injuries. Since 2000, at least partially in response to major news coverage of the dangerous road, the city government has taken measures to cut down on such incidents, including posting police along parts of the boulevard and doing spot-ticketing stings of jay-walkers against traffic, posting large signs proclaiming that "A Pedestrian Was Killed Crossing Here" at intersections where fatal accidents have occurred and installing more road-rule enforcement cameras. Its width is comparable to that of Ocean Parkway and Linden Boulevard in Brooklyn; the Grand Concourse and Bruckner Boulevard in the Bronx; Richmond Avenue in Staten Island; and Park Avenue and Delancey Street in Manhattan.

In 2005, there was hope that there had been a permanent reduction in pedestrian fatalities, because in 2004, only one pedestrian was killed crossing Queens Boulevard.[10] However, 2011 marked the first year that no one was killed crossing the street.[11]

Pedestrian Accidents on Queens Blvd
Year Killed
2001 4
2002 2
2003 5
2004 1
2005 2
2006 2
2007 1

Some of the most dangerous crossings of Queens Boulevard are near Roosevelt Avenue, 51st Avenue, Grand Avenue, Woodhaven Boulevard, Yellowstone Boulevard, 71st Avenue, and Union Turnpike, due to the fact that these streets cross the boulevard diagonally.

In popular culture[edit]

  • In the HBO original series, Entourage, main character Vince stars in a fictional film named Queens Boulevard in which he is able to identify with the source material as an original resident of New York. To further understand the story frame, it is important to note that in real life the four leading actors portraying Vince, Eric, Johnny, and Turtle all actually grew up in New York.
  • In the movie Coming to America, the address of McDowell's restaurant is 85-07 Queens Boulevard in Elmhurst, which was formerly a Wendy's fast food restaurant but is now a new housing development.
  • Dukes Boulevard in the video game Grand Theft Auto IV is based on Queens Boulevard.
  • A short-lived sitcom entitled 13 Queens Boulevard, aired on ABC-TV in 1979.
  • On The Mindy Project Morgan says to Dr. Lahiri that if it weren't for her, he'd be "working at the fake Popeye's on Queens Boulevard".
  • In the movie Cruel Intentions, the main characters of Sebastian Valmont (Ryan Philippe) and Annette Hargrove (Reese Witherspoon) are seen driving along Queens Boulevard in the beginning and end credits respectively

References[edit]

  1. ^ Paul Mullins (29 October 2012). "The boulevard of death: Ghost bikes and spontaneous shrines in New York City". PopAnth.com. 
  2. ^ "The New York City Pedestrian Safety Study & Action Plan" (PDF). New York City Department of Transportation. August 2010. 
  3. ^ "Addressing an Elderly Pedestrian Crash Problem in New York City". Center for problem-Oriented Policing. 
  4. ^ "Town of Newtown, Queens County. Long Island - Woodside". 1873. Retrieved 2011-04-19. "shows Thompson Ave. on south border of map" 
  5. ^ Queens bus map, MTA.info. Retrieved June 12, 2014.
  6. ^ "Queensborough Bridge Railway terminal" Abandoned Stations site http://www.columbia.edu/~brennan/abandoned/qborobr.html
  7. ^ "Queens of the Thirties" Lost Magazine http://www.lostmag.com/issue24/queens.php
  8. ^ "Queens Trolleys in the 1930s: Queens Plaza and Queens Blvd." http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jEPwYcM1qTs
  9. ^ "Boulevard of death' claims another life". WABC Television. 2009-04-09. Retrieved 2009-04-10. 
  10. ^ "VIOLENT CITY DEATHS HIT HISTORIC LOWS Everything from murders to auto fatalities falls sharply". NY Daily News. 2005-01-02. Retrieved 2009-04-10. [dead link]
  11. ^ NYC DOT Installs Countdown Signals on Queens Boulevard, the Latest in a Year of Unprecendented Safety and Mobility Enhancements Boroughwide

External links[edit]