QUEENS — Queens' so-called "boulevard of death" might need a new nickname.
Since 1990, 186 people, including 138 pedestrians, were killed on Queens Boulevard — a 7 mile stretch of roadway from Queens to Manhattan that jets across some 300 feet, had 12 lanes across in some spots, and a speed limit of 30 mph, which drivers regularly exceeded, according to the New York Times.
Since 2014, however, there have been no fatalities.
The boulevard now stands in stark contrast to a nationwide surge in traffic fatalities — up 14 percent.
The reason may be Mayor Bill de Blasio's Vision Zero plan. Streets have been redesigned, the number of lanes across shrunk from 12 to 10, walk signals re-engineered and bike lanes added. The speed limit has also dropped from 30 to 25 mph, and red light and speed cameras were installed along some stretches.
After spending $4 million on these changes — more are on tap for the boulevard. In 2019 the city projects it will spend a quarter of a billion dollars remaking the boulevard further with wide, tree-lined medians, benches and a continuous bike and walking path.
A safety advocacy group says that while the transformation of Queens Boulevard shows that Vision Zero is progressing, there were plenty of other dangerous streets that needed assistance to keep them safer.
People killed in traffic crashes declined across the five boroughs last year to 231, but pedestrian deaths rose to 148, up from 139 in 2015, the Times reports.