South Richmond Hill residents seek speed bump

Jordan Margolis’ five-year-old daughter Sumiran just wants to ride her bike outside like any normal kid her age.
But Margolis is scared of what could happen if a driver, who may be speeding down 125th Street between 107th Avenue and Liberty Avenue, loses control of the vehicle.
“It’s everybody’s safety, not just my daughter’s – everybody,” he said. “All of us – there are seniors; there are children, people of all ages. So it’s safety first and foremost.”
“We’re in dire need of safety on that block,” echoed Damyanti Tulsie, who has lived there for 22 years.
She, along with Margolis and eight of their neighbors, say that right outside their homes, there is an epidemic of high-speed and aggressive driving – at all hours of the day and night.
Another issue, say homeowners, is the newly-opened hookah bar, located down the block on the corner of Liberty Avenue and 125th Street. The 10 residents all believe this bar has contributed to even more late night and early morning noise, out-of-control driving, debris and blocked driveways. Many feel that the bar, which opened early this year, has not only added to the amount of underage drinking, but has also led to more drunken driving in the area.
Officer Kenny Zorn, Community Affairs for the 106th Precinct, doesn’t believe that is the case, however. Zorn says that the number of drunken driving incidents is the same as it was at this point last year. And the main reason for that, Paradise Hookah Café owner San Bresh says, is the fact that there is no liquor served in the bar. In fact, Bresh says, he doesn’t even have a liquor license.
He said that the complaints from neighbors about his bar are mistaken, and that he has to deal with incidents from the three other bars in that area as well, one being right across the street from his.
“I have a bouncer who’s standing outside all of the time,” he said. “I don’t like people to disturb me and I don’t like to disturb people.”
Harry Santram, who lives just three doors down from the hookah bar, said he has had two cars hit by drunk drivers in the past. Both times, he noted, the cars were parked right outside of his home – one was totaled two years ago.
“When they get out of partying, they just speed down the block,” the 25-year resident said, referring to all of the bars in the area.
But priority number one for the residents is the speeding. They want it stopped, and they believe that a speed bump, or a speed “hump” as the Department of Transportation (DOT) calls it, will lessen the ability for drivers to race down their street.
“These people have to be slowed down on that block,” Edwin Rivera claimed. “They are trying to push 80 mph, or trying to do 100 mph. They’re trying to see how fast their cars can actually go from one end to another.”
In a letter to Community Board 10 (CB) District Manager Karyn Petersen, DOT Queens Borough Commissioner Maura McCarthy said that “this location [125th Street between 107th and Liberty Avenues] meets the criteria for a speed hump.”
However, the board will have to vote on the issue in a September 1 meeting. If it is supported, installation will “take place when resources are available,” according to the letter.
Although the residents desperately want a speed hump installed, CB 10 chair Betty Bratton says that, in many cases, because of vibration and drainage issues, residents complain after they are put in. But she said, “If the residents want it, the board will support it.”
Those who live there just hope that the speed hump is in place before something drastic happens.
“It’s not just my daughter,” Margolis said. “It’s everybody’s child, everybody’s family member, everybody’s relative.”

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