By Gina Martinez
The DOT has made plans to make an Ozone Park intersection safer after two 13-year-old girls were struck by a car near a middle school Monday morning, leaving one dead and another in stable condition, police said.
According to police, a 55-year-old man was driving a Chevy sedan southbound on Cross Bay Boulevard at 149th Avenue when his vehicle hit the two girls crossing Cross Bay Boulevard, two blocks from Robert H. Goddard Middle School. The driver had the green light at the time of the collision and the two girls were 20 feet south of the crosswalk when they were struck, police said.
There is no school crossing guard stationed at that busy spot on Cross Bay Boulevard, where several streets converge.
Both girls were taken to Jamaica Hospital. Jazmin Marin was pronounced dead, having sustained severe head trauma, police said. The other girl sustained a leg injury and was in stable condition.
Jazmine lived with her father in Richmond Hill as an only child after her mother’s death, according to the Daily News.
The driver of the Chevy remained on the scene and investigations were ongoing, according to the NYPD.
As of June 2015 the speed limit on Cross Bay Boulevard from Rockaway Boulevard to the north side of the Addabbo Memorial Bridge was lowered to 30 mph, down from 40 mph.
In a statement the city Department of Transportation said there were plans to redesign the intersection as part of Woodhaven-Cross Bay Boulevard Select Bus Service. The agency plans to install several safety and mobility features in 2017 that include restricting the northbound left turn to 149th Avenue and adding curb extensions to realign the intersection as a four-way intersection. DOT will also build out the eastern side of the intersection by extending the sidewalk to the median bus stop, add peak period bus lanes for the northbound segment to reduce the number of travel lanes from four to three. The DOT said it is currently refurbishing existing markings on Cross Bay Boulevard between 149th Ave and 165th Ave.
“Today’s accident unfortunately highlights a major issue that parents and families in Ozone Park have been fighting against for months -students crossing a major roadway such as Cross Bay Boulevard,” state Sen. Joseph Addabbo, Jr. (D-Howard Beach) said Monday. “The idea of having young students cross this roadway has been a serious safety concern. As we offer our support to the families of these young girls, I will continue to advocate for the safety of the students to always come first and work toward safer school corridors by promoting the need for additional crossing guards, proper crosswalks and appropriate zoning for local schools.”
Stacey Pheffer Amato, who is currently running for the Assembly seat in the 23rd District, also called for zoning changes near the junior high.
“While we await the full details of this tragedy, it has long been clear to our community that this particular intersection is a danger to students on their way to and from class, “Amato said. “Forcing students to navigate Cross Bay Boulevard during the morning and afternoon rush hour will only increase the potential for accidents. As a mother and educator, I will continue to fight to ensure the safety of our children as they travel from home to the classroom door.”
Reach Gina Martinez by e-mail at gmart