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City to study dangerous Whitestone intersection

A black Infiniti sedan was crushed during a collision with another vehicle Oct. 5 at the intersection of 149th Street and 10th Avenue in Whitestone, eventually coming to a halt on Barbara and Victor Castellano's property. Photo courtesy the Castellano family
TimesLedger Newspapers

Residents of one Whitestone neighborhood say they are fed up with recurring car crashes at what they describe as a dangerous intersection, and the city announced Tuesday that it will undertake a new study to evaluate whether to take steps to address their concerns.

The intersection of 149th Street and 10th Avenue has been the site of at least 30 car accidents in the past decade, neighbors say, and the damage is not limited to the vehicles involved in the incidents.

Barbara and Victor Castellano live with their family in a home on the corner in question, where two of their brood’s cars were crushed while parked by vehicles speeding through the residential area in separate incidents three years ago.

“People think it’s a four-way stop-sign, and they don’t realize it’s not and they just blow right by,” Victor Castellano said Oct. 6, the day after the most recent crash sent a driver to the hospital. “People don’t even slow down, they just fly past here.”

The Castellanos and other nearby families, including that of neighbor Janet Smith, have taken a number of avenues to get signs installed on 149th, from calling and writing the city Department of Transportation and elected officials to threatening more drastic measures.

“I’m ready to paint a yellow line and paint ‘stop’ out there and get arrested for it because I’m fed up,” Barbara Castellano said.

In September 2009, the DOT denied a request for two new stop signs at the intersection, but a spokesman said Tuesday that the DOT will initiate a new 12-week study of the location. The spokesman said there were only two injuries and no deaths to motor vehicle occupants recorded there between 2006 and 2010, and no pedestrian injuries or deaths.

Neighbor Monica Rubin’s said her fence was destroyed when an errant vehicle drove through it, and a motorcyclist was killed near the corner several years ago after colliding with a vehicle at the intersection.

In every case, the Castellanos believe a driver on 10th assumes the corner is a four-way-stop and proceeds as such, not realizing that there are no stop signs on 149th, and a collision ensues.

The last straw came Oct. 5 at about 4 p.m., when a Honda Odyssey going southbound on 149th collided with a black Infiniti sedan headed eastbound on 10th, according to Castellano’s assessment of the damage. The driver of the Infiniti was sent to the hospital with a possible neck injury, and his mangled car was slammed several feet onto the Castellano property, the Castellanos said. The DOT did not respond to a request for comment.

“We have kids walking home from school,” Rubin said last week, a day after the Honda van and Infiniti sedan crashed. “Yesterday my son was riding his bike right near here, and the car was up in their yard. Imagine if he had been there. It’s insane.”

Reach reporter Connor Adams Sheets by e-mail at csheets@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4538.

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Reader Feedback

Peter G from Whitestone says:
Nice to see that your paper is working with local bloggers and allowing this story to be on the blog before it appeared on your site.
Oct. 14, 2011, 8:56 pm
Bill from Whitestone says:
Best solution:
Double stopsigns on every corner.
Now some corners do and some don't.
This is not good for distracted drivers, i.e., all of us.
Oct. 15, 2011, 6:59 pm
ARMAND from Whitestone says:
This once quiet village has become filled, to overflowing, with cars, businesses, and people. This was inevitable. People living here in 1870 would hardly recognize our town, now. Whitestone, more nearly, resembles Brooklyn or Astoria. Drivers, everywhere seem to be in more of a hurry than ever. I see many more frustrated drivers everywhere. The intersection at Clintonville and 150th Street has become a bottleneck. 154th Street is a major thoroughfare where 30 m.p.h. seems to be the "Minimum" speed now, as heavy vehicles travel North from the Cross Island service road, toward 10th Avenue. Cars, tractor-trailers and the Q15 bus all end up disregarding the three-way (full) STOP signs at 154th Street and 10th Avenue, on their way West on 10th Avenue or North and East up Powells Cove Blvd. Government can establish a traffic regulation, but WE are largely responsible for policing ourselves. That's what makes a 'free' society. The general disregard of traffic laws here in Whitestone may mean that the police may soon need to give us a serious reminder of the rules of the road; and then strict enforcement moving violation regulations. It may save money and time, in the long run.
Oct. 22, 2011, 1:54 am

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