Stephen Grande, Jr. was fed up with watching cars blatantly violate the law by either backing their cars down the long block or simply driving the wrong way to avoid traffic.
He grabbed his phone and shot a video last spring showing a white truck backing up down the long block. The video also shows another car joining the truck, highlighting the unsafe conditions on the street.
Later, Grande said that one of his neighbors had their parked car smashed by a vehicle that was backing down 39th Street to beat traffic.
Since the video was posted to YouTube, elected officials joined Grande and local residents in petitioning the Department of Transportation for a solution. In response, DOT installed a “quick curb,” which is a plastic extension of the curb to prevent oncoming traffic.
The curb has flexible bollards that stand roughly as high as a car's hood to dissuade drivers from driving through them.
However, these measures have been deemed as a temporary solution.
“Longer term, we’ll look to see what can be done,” said Delila Hall, Queens Borough Deputy Commissioner for DOT.
Grande said that since the quick curb has been installed there has been a noticeable difference.
“It’s better,” he said, noting that kids feel safe playing in the area now. “It reminds me of being a kid,” he said.
“It has made the street much quieter and much safer,” said Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer. “It has reduced the level of illegal traffic movements to a great degree.”
Despite the safety measures, some drivers are still disobeying the law. Before a press conference last week unveiling the quick curb began, a car made an illegal right turn onto 39th Street, turned around and backed up down the entire block.
“We would love to see an extension of the sidewalk or a traffic island,” said Van Bramer as possible permanewnt solutions.