A group of leaders in Fresh Meadows are trying to put the brakes on lead-footed drivers who they say whiz down a stretch of homes daily.
The speeding motorists use 75th Avenue, a residential road, to bypass traffic on Union Turnpike, according to Councilmember James Gennaro.
For about one mile, between Utopia Parkway and 164th Street, drivers need only slow down twice for a speed bump and a stop sign, local leaders said.
“It’s a straight run” otherwise, Gennaro said. “It creates a very dangerous situation for people living in and around 75th Avenue on this particular stretch.”
At least four people were injured near 75th Avenue and 172nd Street between 2007 and 2011, according to the city’s Department of Transportation (DOT), though none were severely hurt.
That number jumped to 14 in 2012, according to a spokesperson for Gennaro, who said crashes and near collisions are increasing as more drivers discover the detour.
Assemblymember Nily Rozic said she recently saw a speeding driver jump the curb in an attempt to avoid hitting another car.
“It missed and parked on top of a lawn,” she said. “It’s actually not the first time that I’ve seen that on 75th Avenue. Enough is enough. We really need to figure out a strategic and innovative way to calm the neighborhood to speeding traffic.”
Gennaro said his office has made three requests for traffic studies since 2011. The calls for an all-way stop sign at 172nd Street and 75th Avenue were all denied by the DOT, the councilmember said.
“It’s frustrating,” Gennaro said. “The Department of Transportation has to figure something out. This situation may not lend itself to some kind of cookie cutter solution, but there has to be some sort of solution.”
DOT spokesperson Nicholas Mosquera said the location did not meet federal guidelines for more traffic controls. However, he said the department is looking into other measures.
The legislators proposed putting speed bumps instead of stop signs in problematic parts of 75th Avenue. A DOT feasibility study for the measure is not slated to be finished until October.
“A speed bump is a true traffic calming device,” Gennaro said. “That’s what it’s made for, to slow traffic down and make it a less desirable alternative to Union Turnpike.”
Principal Mary Scheer of nearby Holy Family School said traffic along 75th Avenue will only increase in the meantime.
“They want to keep speeding. I’ve seen cars pass each other on this road. It’s very dangerous,” she said. “There’s total neglect of any of the rules of the road on this street.”