By Stephen Stirling
Members of the Station Road Civic Association held a symbolic candlelight vigil Friday night to protest the opening of what they consider the suspicious and dangerous roadway alteration in front of a car dealership.
The city Department of Transportation recently altered a portion of the intersection of Station Road and Auburndale Lane to allow easier access to the Helms Bros. Mercedesâˆ’Benz dealership, but at the expense of a barrier designed to protect pedestrians and children who play in the nearby residential neighborhood.
Station Civic Association President Rhea O’Gorman said the decision is not only endangers the community, but also appears to have been executed solely for the benefit of the business owner.
“This community will not wait for the inevitable news conference after the inevitable fatality for this situation to be rectified. It must be done now,” O’Gorman said. “The danger of this entranceâ„exit cannot be measured by a traffic study or historical technicality and cannot be remedied by unenforceable signage or the temporary deployment of Helms Bros. employees.”
The group held a candlelight vigil Friday night “to shed light on a dark issue,” according to Rhea.
Helms Bros. has placed several signs at the mouth of the driveway instructing exiting motorists to stop and not make right turns. The dealership has also hired a guard to monitor traffic leaving its property.
“If you need all this signage and a guard here 12 hours a day, how safe can it be?” said Chrissy Voskerichian, a Station Road Civic Association member.
City Councilman John Liu (Dâˆ’Flushing) also expressed his support for area residents, calling the decision a clear affront to the community’s safety.
“The circumstances of this are somewhat suspect,” Liu said. “There is a very clear law that says you cannot have a driveway on an intersection, and that’s what’s happening here.
Liu called for an investigation into why the barrier was removed.
Calls to the DOT were not immediately returned for comment.
Reach reporter Stephen Stirling by eâˆ’mail at email@example.com or by phone at 718âˆ’229âˆ’0300, Ext. 138.