After parents’ rally, city will install traffic signals near a Woodside elementary school

p.s. 11
Photo courtesy of Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer

Two new traffic signals will be installed at an intersection near P.S. 11 in Woodside after parents and students called on the Department of Transportation (DOT) to make crossing the street safer.

In January, Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer organized a rally with Parent Teacher Association (PTA) President Mindy Bichler-Greene, P.S. 11 Principal Elizabeth Peña-Jorge and parents and students of P.S. 11 to demand traffic calming measures.

In addition to the rally, the PTA collected more than 1,000 signatures from community members petitioning for  improvements, which included speed bumps, traffic signals and crosswalks. On March 5, the agency announced that they would install a traffic signal on both the northern and southern legs of 54th Street and Skillman Avenue.

“We came together as a community to demand that DOT do the right thing, and they’ve heard our voice,” Van Bramer said. “This is a great win for the P.S. 11 families, the Woodside community and our children’s safety.”

The traffic signals will be installed by the end of May and according to a spokesperson, both will be coordinated to avoid any backups.

“We thank Council member Van Bramer and the parents, teachers and children at P.S. 11 for their continued support for safer streets for everyone who uses Skillman Avenue,” said DOT Queens Borough Commissioner Nicole Garcia. “These two signals now make it easier for everyone in the community to cross, especially the growing number of students who are heading to and from school or visiting the Woodside Library.”

In 2015, the agency installed a traffic light at Skillman Avenue and 51st Street after civic activists and P.S. 11 students advocated for additional safety measures. The call for the stop light came after a pedestrian was hit at the intersection and community members, who started a petition that gathered 265 signatures, and Van Bramer reached out to the DOT.

DOT officials are also in the process of studying the area around P.S. 343 at 45-45 42nd St. in Sunnyside. The agency will conduct a traffic signal study at 47th Avenue and 42nd Street and decide if signage or markings adjustments should be made.

In October 2017, the councilman and staff from P.S. 343 organized a similar rally to highlight the need for a traffic signal at the “hazardous intersection.”