April 6, 2014 By George Burles (OPINION PIECE)
On March 17, at the intersection of 48th Avenue and 43rd Street, two cars violently collided. One of them was sent spinning through the crosswalk where I was just walking, before slamming into two more cars on the other side of the street. Two men were injured and taken away in ambulances.
Had this accident occurred three seconds earlier, I would not be writing this op-ed piece now. Had this accident taken place an hour later after the schools let out and scores of children cross those streets, the result would have been too horrible to contemplate.
At the same corner in April 2013, a pickup truck went out of control, jumped the curb and knocked down the lamp post where the ‘Winged Fist Way’ street sign had been unveiled with great pride and ceremony a year earlier. Thankfully, nobody was standing near it when it suddenly crashed to the sidewalk.
This particular intersection and connecting streets seem to attract more mishaps and close calls than others in the area as I and many of my neighbors have observed on a daily basis over the years.
Too many drivers rushing down 43rd Street toward the BQE seem to think they are already on the expressway and drive as such. This stretch of road runs through the Celtic Park residential complex where many people live although drivers often barrel through as if it’s a service road, racing to beat the light; many of them large trucks. I have personally witnessed speeding vehicles completely ignore the red light at 50th Avenue.
The section of 48th Avenue running east from 43rd Street also invites more than its share of speeding. Its relatively light traffic, wide lanes and panoramic view ahead make it tempting to drive a lot faster than one should on a city side street.
A potential solution would be the addition of one or more speed bumps in the area and ideally, a speed camera at the intersection.
Sadly, there are drivers on the road with no respect for human life or limb, but they do respect their precious automobiles and it would seriously ruin their day if the undercarriage got hammered by a speed bump. A hefty fine or loss of points on their licenses when a traffic camera nails them zipping through a red light are excellent deterrents as well.
There are, of course, other local streets and intersections that warrant similar attention and residents who know the neighborhood best shouldn’t hesitate to point them out to city authorities, elected officials and the media.
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