Woodside residents are showing that with determination and perseverance, changes can be made to prevent tragedies from occurring.
Civic activists, students from P.S. 11 and Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer gathered on Monday morning at the corner of 51st Street and Skillman Avenue to announce the installation of a new traffic signal at the intersection.
“We’re here today to celebrate a huge victory, a monumental victory for this community because it’s the small things that really matter in the daily lives of everyday people and that stop light has been something we have all worked for for years,” Van Bramer said.
The call for the stop light came after a pedestrian was hit at the intersection and community members including Arthur Ferguson, who started a petition that gathered 265 signatures, and Van Bramer reached out to the Department of Transportation.
“This stop light is a great victory and a great sign of what a community can do to make its streets safer,” Van Bramer said. “This would not have happened without a communitywide effort and never giving up because we heard no several times but we knew that this stop light was needed. We knew that it was too dangerous.”
Ali Mamun, who has owned Woodside Super Convenient at 51-01 Skillman Ave. for 20 years, said that he has seen numerous vehicle collisions at the intersection and down Skillman Avenue, so he hopes the new light will help prevent any future accidents.
“It’s excellent,” Mamun said about the traffic signal installation. “We are so happy for it. Hopefully the light will help everyone now.”
Along with the installation of the traffic signal, a slow zone is in the process of being implemented in the Sunnyside Gardens-Woodside neighborhood. It is expected to be completed by the end of the spring.
The parameters of the slow zone are Queens Boulevard/Roosevelt Avenue as the southern border, 43rd Street as the western border, 58th Street to the east and 38th Avenue/Barnett Avenue to the north.
“Our students walk back and forth to school and it’s a safer neighborhood now. It just became so much better,” said Elizabeth Pena-Jorge, principal at P.S. 11, located just blocks away from the intersection. “Woodside, and Sunnyside, just became a better place.”