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Cop crackdown under way on Queens Blvd.

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

By Pierce O’Reilly

New York City police officers hit the streets of Queens last week in an all-out effort to save lives on one of the most dangerous stretches of road in New York State.

The crackdown began on Thursday, Jan. 25th, along Queens Boulevard, with more than 1,200 summonses being issued before midday. Motorists and pedestrians could barely move a block without seeing police officers on the lookout for offenders. The Queens officers were in patrol cars, in unmarked cars and on foot along the seven-mile stretch that has claimed 72 lives in the last eight years.

The police confirmed that they plan to crack down on speeders, red-light runners, double-parkers and even jaywalkers over the next few weeks.

"We’ll be out in force," said one police officer.

Queens residents have being campaigning for months for a tougher police response and most apparently are pleased with the crackdown.

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"It’s about time," said Ann Marie Scanlon, a Queens Boulevard resident. " Nobody can complain after all the people that have being killed around here."

The crackdown is effecting hundreds of Irish residents who work and socialize in the area.

"It’s severe but fair," said another resident, who asked not to be named. "The police are doing a good job and they deserve credit."

A police spokesperson told the Echo that the planned structural improvements to the road, including railings along the most dangerous crossing points, will be brought forward by more than a year. It is also expected that additional police will be assigned to the local precincts.

"It’s about time that they got serious," said one Irish resident who has been living on the street for 30 years.

Operation Safe Transportation, which stretched into the night and over the weekend, was the latest city initiative to curb accidents and fatalities on the street that many have dubbed the "Boulevard of blood."

Recent reports also suggest that pedestrians don’t have enough time to cross the busy thoroughfare.

"The lights at the crossings are much too short and people are getting caught halfway out all the time," Scanlon said. "The city will now have to monitor the crossing points and give more time to pedestrians."

The speed limit has also being reduced from 35 miles per hour to 30.

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