Pedestrian Killed on the Future Site of the Kissena Way

We were devastated to learn of the death of 29 year old Justin Leiva. At 2pm on April 14, an SUV Jeep driver ran over Justin and then made a u-turn, leaving the victim to die.

The crash happened where the busy Booth Memorial Avenue meets the 6-lane College Point Boulevard, right next to the on-ramp for the Van Wyck Expressway. The terrible speeding in the area is a barrier between Flushing Meadows Corona Park and the neighborhoods of Flushing and Kew Gardens. Pedestrians in our crowded neighborhoods need safe access to their parks, especially with the social distancing COVID-19 has demanded. Unfortunately, many of those still driving are exploiting the open roads, speeding and driving so aggressively that they put everyone at risk, adding to the burden of our over- capacity emergency rooms.

For the past 6 years we’ve been fighting to implement a family-safe route through the parks of Eastern Queens. This intersection is one of the key areas we hope to improve. With better infrastructure Justin’s death may have been avoided.

Over the past year Parks Commissioner Dockett has secured funding to study the Kissena Way path, including creating safe park access at this intersection and many others. Although it is too late for Justin, we hope to support Commissioner Dockett’s work to prioritize this life saving infrastructure that will connect our neighborhoods to their parkland.

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