Feb. 23, 2023 By Michael Dorgan
A number of Queens City Council members have called on the DOT to install a series of new traffic calming measures at the Astoria intersection where a 7-year-old girl was fatally struck by an SUV last week.
Council members Julie Won, Tiffany Cabán and Selvena Brooks-Powers, wrote to the DOT Monday, Feb. 20, urging the agency to make the intersection of Newtown Road and 45th Street safer by installing a traffic light and making the sidewalk wider, among other proposals.
The letter, which was addressed to DOT Commissioner Ydanis Rodriquez, was written by Won and signed by Cabán and Brooks-Powers.
The lawmakers say they were compelled to write the letter following the death of Dolma Naadhun, who was fatally struck at the intersection Friday, Feb. 17.
Naadhun was crossing Newtown Road with her mother and sister just before 6 p.m. when a 2021 Ford Explorer — driven by a 46-year-old woman — allegedly ran a stop sign before colliding with her. Naadhun, who lived feet away from the scene on 45th Street, was transported to NYC Health + Hospitals/Elmhurst with severe head trauma, but could not be saved.
The lawmakers urged the DOT to install a traffic light and to “daylight” the intersection, noting that residents have shared safety concerns about the junction in the past. Daylighting is a process of removing any visual barriers within a minimum of 10 feet of a crosswalk or intersection in order to increase the visibility of both pedestrians and motorists.
As part of the daylighting measures, the lawmakers also want the DOT to construct a curb extension at the intersection, also known as a neckdown. They also want to see curb extensions put down at the intersection of Newtown Road and 44th Street, as well as at Newtown Road and 46th Street.
Additionally, the legislators called for speed bumps to slow vehicles traveling northbound on 45th Street and eastbound on 45th Road, larger signage, as well as painted crosswalks and reflective street markings at the intersections of 44th Street, 45th Street, and 46th Street along Newtown Road.
“Just days before Dolma’s family planned to celebrate Tibetan New Year together, they must now mourn the loss of their precious daughter,” the letter reads.
“This needless tragedy was entirely preventable… Traffic calming measures must be implemented immediately to prevent further loss of life.”
Our Tibetan community is mourning the loss of 7-year-old Dolma Naadhun during what should be a joyous time celebrating Losar. @NYC_DOT must implement safety measures at Newtown Road & 45th St to prevent further deaths & injuries. Read our joint letter @CMBrooksPowers, @CabanD22. pic.twitter.com/QVEA8QfJOi
— Council Member Julie Won (@CMJulieWon) February 22, 2023
The letter also calls for the street light at the intersection to be repaired — although it is understood that this has already been fixed — and a second stop sign at the intersection of Newtown Road and 46th Street going eastbound.
The lawmakers asked the DOT to respond to its requests by March 8.
Won wrote that the tragedy was not the first traffic incident to occur at the intersection.
“Multiple residents have shared with my office that they have reported dangerous conditions at this intersection in the past,” wrote Won, who represents the 26th Council district that covers Sunnyside, Woodside, Long Island City and a portion of Astoria.
“Nothing can bring back Dolma Naadhun, but we can prevent further loss of life so that no family must experience the loss of a loved one,” the letter by the three lawmakers reads.
Cabán represents District 22, which covers parts of Astoria, East Elmhurst and Rikers Island, while Brooks-Powers represents District 31 in southern Queens and is also chair of the council’s Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure.
The letter was penned on the same day that residents took to Facebook to call on local lawmakers and the DOT to improve conditions at the intersection.
- Meanwhile, two memorials have been erected in Astoria to honor Naadhun. One memorial is located at the intersection where she was struck, while the other is located in front of her former school PS85Q, located at 23-70 31st St.
- The mural at the intersection consists of around a dozen bouquets of flowers, several stuffed animals a lighting candle around a street lamp pole. There is also a sign attached to the pole that reads:
- “A beautiful little girl is now among the angels in heaven. May she rest in peace,” a sign at the memorial reads. “May God console her family with all his goodness. And in her honor may we all be more caring and loving people.”
A GoFundMe page that was set up to help raise funds to support her family with the funeral and memorial services has so far generated more than $50,000 as of press time.