Community celebrates new traffic safety measures in Ridgewood

Activists and local community members celebrated the installation of new traffic measures at the notoriously dangerous intersection at Stanhope Street and Fairview Avenue. (Photo by Elijah Hamilton)

The Ridgewood community came together on Sunday, Dec. 18,  to celebrate the recently installed crosswalks and stop sign at the notoriously dangerous intersection at Stanhope Street and Fairview Avenue.

The new crosswalk, which sits outside of Grover Cleveland Park, was added back in November after being approved by the Department of Transportation (DOT) back in August following months of advocacy from the community.

“Crossing the street was just incredibly hard,” said Ridgewood resident Nicole Galpern, co-founder of Crosswalk Fantasy. “If you wanted to cross the street, it’d be like, you had to stand here and kind of just stress yourself out before it was OK to cross. It was a stressful situation.”

Residents had said that the intersection was dangerous for pedestrians to cross due to the lack of traffic safety measures, leaving many unable to visit the park. The intersection also saw tragedy in 2019, when a driver fatally struck a pedestrian who was attempting to cross the street.

Crosswalk Fantasy was formed back in March 2022 when its two founders, Galpern and Becca Kauffman, also a Ridgewood resident, realized they had the same goal making the intersection safer for pedestrians. 

“It was  impossible to cross and it was impossible to ignore,” Kauffman said. “Our frustration boiled to the point where we both, independently of one another, started talking to everyone we knew in the neighborhood about how troublesome this intersection was.”

The duo got in touch and remained in constant communication with the (DOT), sending several requests for traffic safety measures. Additionally, they launched an online petition that amassed 600 signatures from residents living in the area.

They have also worked with Councilman Robert Holden and Community Board 5, which sent a letter to the DOT on their behalf to add a stop sign and crosswalk at the intersection.

The board was told that the intersection received a traffic study prior to their initiative, but the initial request was denied by the DOT.

The celebration included a ribbon cutting with Assemblyman-elect Juan Ardila, along with a group of residents on hand to celebrate.

“Putting pedestrian and street safety is a priority to us,” Ardila said. “Ultimately the goal is to make people in Ridgewood and beyond to feel safer.”

For more information and updates about Crosswalk Fantasy Committee’s activism and the status of the intersection, follow the group on Instagram @crosswalkfantasy.