Last Friday, residents of Big Six Towers, children from the Towers Play-N-Learn nursery school and Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer erected a symbolic stop sign to pressure DOT.
Currently, 47th Avenue between 59th and 61th streets has no crosswalks, stop signs or speed bumps. Residents also noted that few drivers obey the stop sign at 60th Street leading onto 47th Avenue due to poor sight lines, as cars are allowed to park up to the corners of the block.
“We’ve had numerous requests in and it has been exacerbated by the fact that the side road of Queens Boulevard is only one lane now,” said Jerry LoMonte, treasurer and resident of Big Six Towers. “During high traffic times, people cut down this road to get around the traffic.”
LoMonte said that without stop signs on 47th Avenue people typically speed down the block. “These are very dangerous situations,” he said. “Let's not wait until someone gets hurt or killed.”
LoMonte noted that the seniors and nursery school children have to walk multiple blocks out of their way to find a spot to safely cross.
“It’s really hard for students to cross the street,” said Elizabeth O’Hara, director of Towers Play-N-Learn nursery school. “We go on nature walks and we have to have full staff crossing the streets because the cars come flying down.”
At times, O’Hara said that she, along with other teachers, have to wave at cars because they don’t know if the drivers will stop while the children cross the street.
“It’s really dangerous for us to cross the street here,” she said.
“For over three years, my office has been fighting the DOT for very simple and common sense measures to calm traffic and make this area safer,” Van Bramer said. “I don’t know how much it costs to put up a stop sign, but I know the life of these children is worth far more.”
DOT said it studied the area last winter and found there was no need for a stop sign.
“Safety is DOT’s top priority,” said a DOT spokesperson. “While the agency’s recent study of this location last winter found that it did not meet the federal guidelines for additional stop signs, DOT will review the location to see what potential enhancements can be made, including possibly adding a temporary speed board at the location to remind drivers of the safety reasons for adhering to the speed limit.”