Around 250 Ridgewood community members rallied on Saturday, March 19, by Grover Cleveland Park to call on the Department of Transportation (DOT) to add safety measures to a dangerous intersection in their neighborhood.
The Crosswalk Committee of Ridgewood, a newly formed grassroots organization, put together the rally to demand pedestrian signals and other safety measures at Stanhope Street and Fairview Avenue. According to residents, this intersection directly across from Grover Cleveland Park and High School is known as a dangerous place to cross the street.
“There’s no safe way to get to the park or the high school,” said Nicole Galpern, the co-founder of the Crosswalk Committee of Ridgewood. “Everyone in my neighborhood goes to the park mostly for recreation, so to be more stressed as you’re approaching the park feels counterintuitive.”
In 2019, an older man died of head trauma after being hit by a car heading eastbound on Stanhope Street, just a block away from his home.
“Are we waiting for another tragedy to happen before they respond? That doesn’t seem like a good method,” said Becca Kauffman, co-founder of the Crosswalk Committee.
The Crosswalk Committee received 350 signatures on a petition and 200 signed postcards that will be sent to the DOT asking them to add a crosswalk and traffic signage to make the intersection safer. Currently, the intersection of Stanhope Street and Fairview Avenue has no crosswalk demarcations or pedestrian signals.
Kauffman said it is extremely upsetting that this intersection is so dangerous since it acts as a gateway to major green spaces in the neighborhood.
“It’s a really crucial commons that people really appreciate and it has been especially thriving since the pandemic because it’s our only outdoor space where we can roam,” Kauffman said.
Gary Giordano, the district manager for Community Board 5, asked the DOT to add safety measures to the intersection but his request was denied. However, DOT responded to QNS saying they are “exploring enhanced pedestrian crossings at this intersection and will have more to share as this project develops.”
One resident who attended the rally, Ruth Lowe, has been living in Ridgewood for 65 years. She said that cars never slow down or stop for pedestrians at that intersection.
“If they see you walking with a cane or wobbling and having trouble walking, they step on their freaking gas and they aim for you,” Lowe said. “That’s how concerned they are for people’s lives.”