‘The city doesn’t do anything unless someone gets hurt’: Bayside resident demands traffic safety on 46th Avenue

Photo credit: Isabelle Lu

A Bayside resident is demanding traffic safety along 46th Avenue following a car crash that left her father critically injured.

On March 12, a reckless driver struck Isabelle Lu’s father as he made his way home across the intersection of 215th Place and 46th Avenue. EMS transported him to North Shore Manhasset Hospital where he remains in the intensive care unit. Lu asked that QNS keep her father’s identity anonymous for privacy purposes.

The following day, Lu drafted a petition addressed to the Department of Transportation (DOT), state Senator John Liu and Councilman Paul Vallone requesting the installation of traffic safety features on 46th Avenue. Since Wednesday, the petition has garnered over 200 signatures.

CB 11 District Manager Joseph Marziliano told QNS that the advisory body is “supporting her request to the Department of Transportation for traffic calming measures on 46th Avenue near where her father was injured.”

“The cars are always speeding down 46th Avenue because it is the street right next to the primary street [Northern Boulevard],” Lu said. “They go to 46th Avenue to avoid the stop lights and traffic safety measured installed. There is only one crosswalk installed on 216th Street and 46th Avenue, but cars fail to slow down there as well. It takes forever to cross the avenue sometimes.”

She took photos along 46th Avenue from Bell Boulevard to Springfield Boulevard which exhibited a lack of crosswalks, stop signs, speed bumps or stop lights on several blocks. There is currently a stop light on Bell Boulevard, a crosswalk at 216th and a crosswalk and stop sign at Springfield Boulevard. 215th Street, 215th Place, 217th Street and 218th Street have no safety measures in place.

QNS reached out to DOT to find out possible safety measures the agency is looking into for the area.

“DOT will open a speed hump study, an intersection control study and also review the markings plan along the stretch. Since this case involves a serious injury, it is considered a high priority review for DOT,” said a DOT spokesperson. 

Lu has lived in Bayside since her parents bought their house in 1997. Growing up, she and her sisters attended P.S. 31 and M.S. 158 and recalls her father advising them to cross at Bell Boulevard and 46th Avenue “where the crossing guard was.”

“I am sure other parents have complained about the lack of safety features but the city doesn’t do anything unless someone gets hurt,” said Lu. “The DOT told me that they will look into 46th Avenue and do a case study to see if that avenue really needs safety features such as speed bumps [or] all-way stop signs on all four corners of intersections.”

Lu said that she has spoken to other residents via Facebook who shared similar experiences with crossing 46th Avenue.

“I live in the area and have always found it to be insane that there are no stop signs or speed bumps on 46th Avenue,” said one resident. 

Another resident recalled how neighborhood advocacy helped to get a streetlight installed back in the 1970s.

“I remember my mom and all concerned Baysiders in the area, protesting the intersection of Bell and 46th. There was no street light there at the time and they walked in a circle in the intersection blocking the traffic. Since it was near the school, kids were in danger of being hit while crossing the street. It worked. They put up the streetlight,” the Facebook user said.

Lu confirmed that her father is recovering in the ICU, but it will take him “a while” to recover from his injuries.

“I just want higher officials who represent our community of Bayside to take our request seriously. I hope it will not take a death of someone before something is done,” said Lu.

On March 18, Vallone and Liu coauthored a letter to DOT Commissioner Nicole Garcia asking that the agency review the area’s traffic conditions. The lawmakers reinforced the fact that motorists speed down 46th Avenue and that there are currently no safety measures to prevent it. They also pointed out how parents and children who go to local schools use 46th Avenue on a daily basis.

“46th Avenue between Bell Boulevard and Springfield Boulevard is a dangerous stretch of road with no existing traffic controls. It is our hope that proactive installation of traffic calming and controlling measures will prevent another unfortunate incident from occurring,” said Vallone.

Story updated on Tuesday, March 19 at 10:46 a.m.

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