Padavan, Baysiders ask DOT for crash site changes

State Sen. Frank Padavan and Bayside residents met with Queens DOT Commissioner Maura McCarthy (r.) to discuss an intersection on 53rd Avenue where a neighborhood woman was struck by a van. Photo by Nathan Duke
By Nathan Duke

State Sen. Frank Padavan (R-Bellerose) and a group of Bayside residents joined the Queens Department of Transportation commissioner Tuesday to plead with the agency for new traffic safety measures near PS 162 after a mother was fatally struck while dropping her son off at the school last month.

A group of 10 Bayside residents who live near the school, at 201-02 53rd Ave., met with Maura McCarthy, the commissioner, at the corner where Binhui Zheng was struck and killed by a van June 6.

“I’ve crossed my son for six years at this intersection,” said Maria DiLeone, a Bayside resident. “I can’t tell you how many times I’ve nearly been hit. Drivers have no regard.”

Padavan said he wrote to the DOT, asking for speed bumps, stop signs or traffic lights near the school.

“Nothing can be 100 percent,” the senator said. “People will break the law no matter what. We just want to reduce that chance.”

But McCarthy said the city had undertaken two studies of the area near the school and found that speed bumps were not possible for the site because there was not enough space between driveways on the roadway.

“This street is not long enough,” she said. “But we’ve opened a study for a reduced speed zone. We don’t want to put in a stop sign if the street does not meet the traffic threshold.”

As residents spoke with McCarthy, several drivers sped through intersections without stopping and other vehicles flew by at high rates of speed.

“It seems to me that nothing will reduce speeding but speed bumps,” resident Beatrice Gallagher said. “It’s the only thing that would have saved [Zheng’s] life.”

McCarthy said the DOT was looking into placing blinking yellow lights along the street and signs that warn drivers that the roadway’s maximum speed is 20 miles per hour.

The traffic safety measures could be put into effect as soon as August or September, she said.

On June 6, Zheng was struck after taking her son to school at PS 162. The 38-year-old, whose birthday was the day after she was run down, was pronounced brain dead and left on life support at New York Hospital Queens. She died three days later shortly after her parents arrived from China.

Hsin Lu, of 221-04 58th Ave. in Flushing, was arraigned on charges of driving without a license, reckless driving and failure to obey a police officer or flag person, Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said. The defendant could spend up to one year in jail as well as pay $1,000 if convicted, a DA spokeswoman said.

The DA said Lu had allegedly been driving at a high rate of speed when his van struck Zheng. A crossing guard attempted to signal for him to slow down as Zheng walked out into the street, but Lu is alleged to have not obeyed her instruction, the DA said.

He was scheduled to return to court July 27.

Reach reporter Nathan Duke by e-mail at nduke@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4566.

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