By Madina Toure
The city Department of Transportation has agreed to upgrade an all-way stop sign at a College Point intersection to a traffic signal by the end of May following an aggressive push from a resident.
On Jan. 5, Richard Erdey, 43, emailed state Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside), City Councilman Paul Vallone (D-Bayside) and individuals from the office of Borough President Melinda Katz, among others, about the necessity of a traffic light.
He cited two car accidents that occurred at the intersection in 2015 and noted that the area is often busy, given its proximity to a soccer field, a commercial truck outlet and driveways where Disano Construction Company and Verizon bucket trucks come out of and turn.
“The people that use the traffic signal, a good part of them didn’t seem to have the maturity to use that four-way stop sign,” Erdey said. “New Yorkers are in such a hurry. I live two blocks away—you can see the battling (conflict) of someone being too nice, too fearful or someone having momentum.”
Richard Gippetti, a planner for Queens DOT Borough Commissioner Nicole Garcia, responded the same day, saying the agency would review his request.
Avella told Erdey in a letter dated Feb. 4 that he contacted the DOT Jan. 7 and that the agency reviewed traffic conditions at the intersection and approved a traffic signal. The senator said the agency expects the installation to occur by May 31.
Erdey praised Avella for jumping on the issue but said his own persistence may have pushed the DOT to act quickly.
“I was putting DOT in the bag of basically saying, ‘Look, when someone gets hit since we have (gotten) the Vision Zero (sic), don’t say I didn’t bring it to light,” he said.
Avella said he was surprised by the agency’s fast response to the issue.
“It’s one of the quickest turnarounds I’ve had with DOT,” he said. “Obviously they’ve recognized the fact that there’s some significant traffic issues there.”
And this is not the first time Erdey has complained about issues in the area.
In December, he voiced concerns about Police Academy recruits parking on residential streets.
He met with Thomas Conforti, commanding officer of the 109th Precinct, and Detective Kevin O’Donnell in December.
Avella wrote to Police Commissioner Bill Bratton Nov. 20 asking him to review the parking issue and get back to him with his findings.
In response, Bratton wrote to Avella Dec. 23, stating that the issues of parking and other environmental impact items were finalized in a 17-item commitment letter from then Deputy Mayor Edward Skyler to Community Board 7 under former Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s administration.
The sixth item of the traffic and parking portion of the commitment letter states that NYPD employees and visitors can park legally in the area surrounding the Police Academy, the commissioner wrote.
Bratton said recruits are required to carpool, that the capacity of the academy’s parking lot has been increased to more than 1,000 spaces and that the academy’s supervisory staff conducts regular patrols.
“It (Bratton’s letter) was a polite blowoff,” Erdey said.
Reach reporter Madina Toure by e-mail at mtour