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On June 4 at 9 a.m., a car speeding east on 53rd Avenue and 202nd Street mowed down a young mother after she crossed her son to PS 162. As a result, she died shortly afterward. The driver said he did not see her — in spite of the crossing guard frantically waving and screaming for him to stop. This mother was crossing at the corner.
After this tragedy, our group — the Bayside Beautification Group — petitioned the city Department of Transportation, Community Board 11 and our public officials to help prevent another tragedy on this avenue by having speed bumps installed on the two blocks near PS 162. On July 13, Maura McCarthy, the Queens borough DOT commissioner, met with our group on 53rd Avenue to observe this dangerous area.
As the cars sped by at 40 to 45 miles per hour, McCarthy informed us that speed bumps could not be installed on this avenue because of driveways. We strongly disagreed with McCarthy. Our members have canvassed the Queens area and found several blocks where speed bumps are in place. All these thoroughfares have houses with driveways and, since they are all in Queens, have the same plot size as our Bayside homes.
The following are some areas where speed bumps are in place and are slowing down cars:
• 35th Avenue going east from Bell Boulevard to 221st Street has five speed bumps
• 221st Street going south from there has four speed bumps
• 82nd Avenue between 256th and 257th streets has speed bumps
• 81st Avenue between 259th and 260th streets and 261st and 262nd streets
• 261st Street between 80th and 81st avenues
• Peck and 64th avenues, by PS 179, have two speed bumps
• 121st Street and 23rd Avenue in College Point have two speed bumps
Instead of installing speed bumps, the only proven way to slow speeding drivers, the DOT has installed 15 signs on 53rd Avenue — some with icons, others with decreased speed and others where the speed limits apply only on school days and at certain hours. All of these measures are worthless. There is no enforcement of these rules. Drivers do not obey the signs.
The DOT wants to install a flashing yellow light on this dangerous avenue. As the residents of this area, we observe daily that drivers do not obey any signs — stop, speed, yield to pedestrians in the crosswalk, etc.
Another passive device, the flashing light, would be meaningless. Drivers speed up on this dangerous area — the four blocks on 53rd Avenue between Francis Lewis Boulevard on the west and the Clearview Expressway on the east.
Why would McCarthy think a flashing light would slow down cars when these newly installed signs have in no way decreased the speed of cars? Therefore, we are going public with our demand for speed bumps on 53rd Avenue because the lives of our residents are in danger.
Bayside Beautification Group
©2010 Community Newspaper Group
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