By Gina Martinez
Elected officials and parents are asking the city Department of Transportation to reconsider implementing traffic calming measures at the intersection of 58th Road and 136th Street near PS 120.
After a December 2017 traffic study by the DOT that deemed the Flushing intersection safe, state Assemblywoman Nily Rozic (D-Flushing), state Sen. Toby Stavisky (D-Flushing) and Council Member Peter Koo (D-Flushing) are urging the agency to revisit this request.
According to lawmakers and parents, aside from one speed limit sign, the crossroads surrounding PS 120 do not have any indicators to slow down vehicles going at high speeds due to the proximity to the Long Island Expressway. Parents are asking DOT to install speed bumps, stop signs, or any other available traffic calming measures to better protect students.
In March 2017, Rozic contacted DOT requesting traffic calming measures at the intersection, along with a letter signed by parents of PS 120. In December 2017, DOT responded that after completing a traffic study, the intersection did not merit any traffic calming measures.
The Flushing lawmakers are urging DOT to revisit the area and work with the school community to ensure all possible options are explored.
According to Rozic, parents and neighbors have witnessed close calls from reckless drivers in front of their school.
“Administrators, teachers, and parents worry daily that a collision will occur and the current speed limit sign has not proven effective enough to protect their children,” she said. “I urge NYC DOT to work immediately with the school community and find a solution to improve safety.”
Stavisky said that the heavily populated school, which has over 1,000 students, can create high traffic flow throughout the day. The senator said that according to Vision Zero data, there have been at least three people injured in front of the school over the last two years.
Don Capalbi, president emeritus of Queensboro Hill Neighborhood Associaton, said there is no apparent down-side to the requested changes, and that the only result will be improved safety of children. He added that the current safety measures in place were designed for a school with a much smaller student population and that since the population density has increased, so has the traffic volume in the area of the school. The traffic also has increased greatly after the elimination of two traffic lanes on Main Street for Select Bus Service.
PS 120 parent Michael Pineda, who has two children who attend the elementary school, said that he was very disappointed in the findings of the DOT.
“This intersection, although deemed safe in the latest traffic study, is a traffic hazard during drop off and dismissal,” he said. “I drop off my children and pick them up daily and I have seen many near calls where students are almost clipped or run over by speeding vehicles heading eastbound on 58th Road. Drivers heading north on 136th Street also don’t heed their stop sign, causing a dangerous intersection. I urge the NYC DOT to reconsider their findings and reassess the intersection. It is harder to act than to react. Let us do what we can to keep our young ones safe,”
Reach Gina Martinez by e-mail at gmart