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Crowley wants speed reduced after bus crash

After a school bus full of toddlers tipped over in a collision with a car that ran a stop sign last week on 69th Street in Middle Village, City Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley (D-Middle Village) redoubled her efforts to get the city Department of Transportation to install more traffic-slowing measures there.

At 1:05 p.m. on Dec. 1, a small school bus was traveling eastbound on 69th Road carrying nine 4-year-olds from the Positive Beginning school nearby, police said. As it passed through the intersection at 75th Street, a passenger car heading north on 75th ran the stop sign and smashed into the rear portion of the bus, sending it flipping on to its side, police said.

The children all suffered minor injuries and were briefly hospitalized as a precaution, police said. The driver of the car was issued a summons for running the stop sign.

Crowley believes a four-way stop sign could have prevented the crash.

“On five separate occasions, dating back to February 2009, I have called on the [city] Department of Transportation to install traffic-calming measures along 69th Road, such as four-way stop signs, speed bumps or speed limit monitors,” she said in a statement. “While these traffic-calming measures may seem like minor fixes, they are necessary to keep our drivers and nearby residents safe. People use this road as a speedway and too many accidents have happened here. The DOT cannot continue to ignore our call for help.”

A DOT official said the agency has agreed to revisit the issue.

“At the council member’s request, we are currently looking at this location and the intersections of 69th Road and 73rd Place, 79th Street and 80th Street for additional traffic controls,” he said.

Crowley said a driver in a minivan struck an Access-A-Ride bus in November 2008, sending the vehicle tipping over onto a parked car. Before that, a pedestrian was killed at the intersection with 76th Street, the councilwoman said. A map compiled by the advocacy group Transportation Alternatives indicated there were two pedestrian-involved accidents on 69th Road between 1995 and 2005.

The DOT responded in June 2009, rejecting Crowley’s call for all-way stop signs, stating that “based upon our evaluation of the data collected, it is our judgment that all-way stop controls are not recommended at this time.”

But the DOT also pledged to install a “stop ahead” sign and “stop” pavement markings on 76th Street. At the time of Tuesday’s school bus accident, the sign had been installed, but the other markings had not been completed.

Reach reporter Jeremy Walsh by e-mail at jewalsh@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 154.

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