July 9, 2018 By Nathaly Pesantez
Two traffic signals have at last been installed outside P.S. 11 on Skillman Ave., Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer announced Friday.
The full traffic signals, on each leg of 54th Street and Skillman Avenue, were installed by the Department of Transportation after months of demands from both parents and Van Bramer, including a letter written last year to the agency on the matter.
School parents and Van Bramer have long said that the high-traffic area, with over 1,000 students and across the street from the Woodside Library, was simply an accident waiting to happen.
“I am thrilled that the Department of Transportation has agreed to install these necessary signals and crosswalks in front of P.S. 11,” Van Bramer said in a statement. “Vision Zero means that we need to see dangerous areas and prevent potential fatalities before it’s too late. This signal means that before the start of summer school, the children here will be protected.”
Nicole Garcia, DOT Queens Borough Commissioner, said crosswalks were also installed at the two sites.
“The two new traffic signals, which are designed to have coordinated timing, and crosswalks will make it easier for everyone from our seniors to school children cross the street,” she said in a statement.
While demands for traffic calming by the school date back some time, calls for the DOT to look at the area again and implement safety measures were renewed late last year, and with much fervor, after the agency came out with its initial safety proposal for Skillman and 43rd Avenues that included protected bicycle lanes.
Parents at P.S. 11 arranged an emergency meeting with the DOT to talk about the plan in December, and were outraged to see that the proposal not only lacked traffic signals by the school, but would place a protected bike lane flush against the curb of the main entrance, which many claim would pose a safety risk for children and increase traffic congestion.
The contentious meeting prompted Van Bramer to abruptly cancel a town hall already in the works to discuss the DOT’s proposal at large.
He then said that the town hall and any discussion on the agency’s proposal for the two avenues wouldn’t be entertained unless the traffic calming measures were installed.
In March, the DOT suddenly announced that traffic signals and crosswalks would be installed not just by P.S. 11, but by P.S. 343, another school Van Bramer and the community had spent years advocating for traffic signals.
Van Bramer said at the time that he simply used “all levers” of his power to get things done for his community, and wished the agency hadn’t taken so long to put up the traffic signals. Meanwhile, the DOT said the new traffic lights at the two schools were not related to the town hall and their plans for Skillman and 43rd Avenues.
The fate of the agency’s proposal for the two avenues is still unclear, as neither Mayor Bill de Blasio nor the DOT have said if they will go ahead and implement the plan, despite opposition from Van Bramer and Community Board 2.
A stop light is needed on 56th Street and Woodside Avenue. If one has stopped at 56th Street it is difficult to see vehicles coming on Woodside Avenue. They also seem to speed. Maybe a four way stop? Over the years there have been many accidents. There is usually a crossing guard there. Many children attending both PS 11 and St. Sebastian’s cross at this location.
Two stop signs on 57th and Woodside and two at 56th and Woodside. Maybe would slow down traffic?
NOW PUT SPEED BUMPS FROM 52nd St to 40th St!
Maybe a few more traffic lights timed to slow traffic would be better than speed bumps.
These lights are just a horrible idea… I run both of them all the time
Do you complain about how cyclists think the law doesn’t apply to them while you’re speeding through stoplights in a school zone?
I never speed thruu the school zone I just run the lights
Too bad they didn’t get rid of the school instead. Could have made it a nice parking lot.
Sad to see the fake Gardens Watcher snake stealing my pen name again, spewing his/her venom and snarky sarcasm as usual. I actually think this plan will be good for P.S. 11. JVB deserves credit on this one.
It really is a new day in Sunnyside/Woodside. A picture in the Sunnyside Post of Councilmember Van Bramer announcing a local civic activity without Joe Crowley looming over the proceeding.
mr. photo-op is what he is.
Exactly. Shouldn’t take photos at press conferences. Why don’t people just close their eyes and use their imaginations to paint the scene?
I’m not against the lights, but the implementation is awful.
#1 When turning right onto Skillman from 54th Street, the new light on Skillman is only green for a second or two. This causes the cars to rush through the light. These lights need to be better timed for efficient traffic flow.
#2 When turning right into 54th St from Skillman, there is not enough room for two cars to pass. This causes the stopped car on 54th St to pull into the crosswalk to allow the other car to enter 54th St. I guess that eventually, they will need to remove a few parking spaces near the corner on 54th St.
The lights should have been installed at 54 street on the side of the school AND ON THE CORNER OF THE LIBRARY ON 55 STREET which is the midpoint of the school. Few people cross at other 54 street corner closest to the train and down a little bit from the school’s 54 street corner, which is one way. A child crossing mid-street from the corner of 55 street is the bigger concern. If that happens, the DOT has to explain their rationale for a second light with little impact where it was placed.
We will be holding a vigil for the lost parking spaces. So sad to see them go.
Yeah, but they are getting rid of the speed cameras by schools and police do next to zero enforcement, so really, will anyone be safer? I see drivers speeding and running red lights all the time.
I see bicyclists running red lights and pedestrians jay walking also doing the same thing all the time.
Stfu dude, you’re comparing a cyclist & a human walking, to a 2-4 ton box at speed.
It’s not the same thing.
OK dude hipster trust fund baby.
Wat a dud, it’s the same thing. Because if the person is walking or is a cyclist, his actions will be the same in a vehicle. Run the light yuppie
The National Safety Council estimated automotive fatalities topped 40,000 for the second consecutive year.
But, you know, BIKES.
I even see pedestrians turn right on red, without signaling! It’s wild out here.
“m” is right. Almost got runned over by a reindeer last Christmas Eve. Don’t give cars a hard time