Long Island City residents mounted a prop “stop sign” on the southwest corner of 5th Street and 47th Avenue, symbolizing their pleas for the Department of Transportation (DOT) to install a real sign and highlighting the potential hazards existing along this corridor.
“I feel it is critical that we have an adequate stop sign so people slow down and know who has the right of way,” said area resident Wendy Chan. “I’ve seen too many near misses.”
According to CrashStat, no accidents have occurred at this intersection since the data was first available in 1996.
Chan, who has lived nearby for four years, commented on the neighborhood’s extreme rise in population, noting she has seen a drastic increase in the number of young people and children in the vicinity. According to Chan, the number of kids living in her building has nearly tripled over the past few years. She fears dangerous driving in close proximity of children and pedestrians could lead to perilous consequences.
Chan alleged that many commercial vehicle drivers cruising the neighborhood are unaware of local traffic patterns – an influx she believes to be caused by the recent addition of large retailers such as Duane Reade and Fresh Direct to Long Island City.
According to a representative from the office of Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer, a new school is being built close to this intersection. A park and several preschools also sit nearby, increasing pedestrian traffic.
“The traffic along 5th Street presents numerous hazards for hundreds of pedestrians and young children who cross this street every single day on their way to work and school,” said Van Bramer. “Without stop signs along this heavily trafficked corridor, the chances of an accident happening are increasing each day that the Department of Transportation does not take action.”
The representative alleged that traffic regulations have not kept up with the extreme development that has taken place in Long Island City over the past few years.
On May 18, Van Bramer joined Long Island City residents to erect the “People’s Stop Sign.” Forty locals stood at the dangerous intersection as the homemade sign was posted, drawing attention to the intersection’s possible peril.
A representative from the DOT alleged that the agency is currently looking at other methods to address traffic concerns at 5th Street and 47th Avenue, as the intersection did not meet federal guidelines for the installation of a stop sign.
According to the spokesperson, last year the city recorded the lowest number of traffic fatalities citywide since the data was first kept, as well as the fewest vehicular deaths ever noted in Queens.
“I hope our efforts to erect our own stop sign are noticed by the Department of Transportation and that they take action on this hazardous issue before it’s too late,” said Van Bramer.