Photo courtesy of Council Member Vallone's office

A busy Whitestone intersection just got a lot safer.

Councilman Paul Vallone announced that the Department of Transportation installed a new stop sign at the intersection of 163rd Street and 24th Road in the northeast Queens neighborhood. Residents Cyrille Kousiaris and Salvatore Cippo began advocating for increased safety measures at this intersection in 2008.

Prior to the stop sign installation, there was a six-block stretch along 163rd Street without a stop sign where cars would constantly speed.

“This long-awaited traffic control is a win for Whitestone and the residents of 163rd Street who have been petitioning for safety measures for over a decade,” said Councilman Paul Vallone. “I thank Cyrille Kousiaris and Salvatore Cippo for their advocacy and Queens Borough Commissioner Nicole Garcia for working closely with my office on this issue.”

In 2013, Kousaris and Cippo circulated and submitted a petition to DOT asking the agency to implement much-needed safety measures on 163rd Street to reduce the speeding. In December 2018, Cippo contacted Vallone to report a series of car collisions at the intersection.

Following the crashes, Vallone penned a letter to DOT Queens Borough Commissioner Nicole Garcia asking the agency to conduct a traffic study at the location. The councilman first reached out to DOT concerning this issue in 2014.

“Finally, after 11 years and innumerable car accidents, the four-way stop signs were installed on July 15, 2019,” said Kousiaris. “Without the help of Councilman Paul Vallone, I am sure this would not have been done. He took the lead and made the impossible happen, proving to my neighbors and me that some officials do listen to the people and are there for their community. On behalf of my neighbors on 163rd Street, I would like to thank Councilman Vallone and the DOT for making this happen.”

In the past, Vallone has advocated for other all-way stop signs in Whitestone, including one at 17th Road and Murray Street. The intersection was the site of a hit-and-run that left a 71-year-old critically injured back in 2017.

“In 2007, I moved to a corner house in Whitestone, and soon after I started to see accidents due to speeding on 163rd Street and poor visibility on the adjacent road,” said Cippo. “In the last 12 years, Cyrille has lost two new cars to accidents and my house was hit by a car. I contacted Paul Vallone’s office and I was instructed to inform them of any new accident. A new stop sign was installed on July 15, saving someone from injury or possible death.”

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