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Op-Ed Sunday: Speed Bumps & Cameras Needed Near 48th Avenue/43rd Street

48th Avenue and 43rd Street (Photo: George Burles)

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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“The op-ed’s author is making a hasty generalization because he happens to live in the area and has personally witnessed or heard of a number of incident occurring in that particular location. But taking even a brief look at some hard data (the NYC crashmapper site at is one excellent resource) proves that these stretches of 43rd st and 48th ave are nowhere near the worst in NYC.”

More aggressive traffic enforcement citywide then perhaps?

Naughtius Maximus

@Tyson White

I share your disgust for drivers fiddling with their cell phones. I wish I could pull them over drag them out of the car and beat some common sense into them. They are as much a menace as drunk drivers.

Tyson White

The stats clearly document that 2/3rds of fatalities are the fault of drivers. It’s very typical of drivers to blame pedestrians and/or bicycle riders in their own self interest. When I wait at an intersection for the 40 seconds I’m required to wait, I see at least two, usually 3 drivers playing around with their phones. Don’t even get me started on speeding.

Those who dismiss the number of crashes and deaths as too few will quickly change their minds when it happens to someone they love. These deaths are absolutely unnecessary and completely avoidable! Why then do they persist? Because we haven’t done much about it – yet. Look at the NYPD traffic stats and see how most precincts have given only a handful of speeding tickets a month. Some none at all. Yet speeding is the #1 cause of traffic deaths.

Dorothy Morehead

Traffic cops? In Sunnyside? Don’t think so. At least I’ve never seen one.


The only thing traffic cops do s write tickets. I have yet to see them doing any moving violation stops on queens blvd.


No, in other words, traffic needs to slow down!

You’re going to wait for “traffic cops?” To do what?


So in other words, the 108 needs to scream at the traffic cops until they actually do their jobs ?

goggles pizano

I frequently drive throughout the 5 boros: some observations on pedestrians:

1. people do not look both ways b4 crossing street. My parents taught me this ‘difficult” concept at 5 years old

2. pedestrians have their eyes fixated on their phones, or are caught up in the lates crappy American Idol tune, not paying attention at all.

3. teens have become so accustomed to exiting the ‘cheese’ bus and having all traffic stop for them that they just walk across the street when exiting a public bus w/o looking

4. peds often seem like they want to play ‘frogger’ in the middle of Queens Blvd. crossing against lights, in the middle of streets, etc.

5. dont get me started on people on bikes, e-bikes….

if we want to stem the tide of ped fatalaties both peds and drivers need to exercise common sense and caution.

anyone get the reference in the name i used?

There, Their, They're


No fatalities yet. Isn’t it better to do something BEFORE somebody gets killed?


Want to reduce speed and make it pedestrian friendly?

Remove automatic cars (not happening)

Make the streets narrower

Install sidewalk corner islands

Speed bumps where the road ends before the white crosswalk lines,
3′ in depth 7′ in width

Finally reduce speed to 25mph on residential streets

Then on the highways and freeways, create a Keep Right Pass Left law with hard enforcement, boom, no more traffic. No more angry drivers using residential streets as shortcuts.

Solve highway problems first then local streets will be just fine but still implement as stated above.


So basically there were 2 accidents in 2 years with no fatalities according to the op ed. Let’s not get all our panties in a bunch over this. It’s bad enough with all the pot holes out there, no need for speed bumps as well.


Just terrible. Yes, I agree more speed bumps, and traffic cameras are needed along 48th Ave. Car speed problems also have been a huge problem on Queens Blvd. for many years.


I think speed bumps are very effective slowing down traffic.

We could use them on 43rd Street between 48th and 50th Avenues. Cars are going too fast trying to beat lights to get to the BQE underpass.


I totally agree with Mikolaj. Maybe we should install speed bumps on Queens Blvd too?
Speeding can easily be eliminated by timing the red lights properly, no speed bumps or other archaic methods are not necessary. Red light cameras also serve no purpose and does not eliminate accidents other than generate revenue for the city and cause more accidents when people realize there is a camera and slam on the brakes.
There is a similar problem on 44th and 48th streets, cab drivers speed to beat the red light so they can go to south side and eventually connect to LIE or BQE.

Tawn Shornton

No matter the street or cross road, the main problem these days is distracted drivers. People behind the wheel who seem more focused on their cell phone conversations, text messages, car stereos, cigarettes etc. Those are real people out there on the road, it’s not a video game. Put away your electronic entertainment and pay attention.


Our new mayor has proclaimed making our streets safer (for pedestrians) is one of his priority goals. Lets is see how far he gets & I do wish him success. Because driving & walking in Queens has gotten crazier. The things I see on a daily basis are outrageous. Whether pedestrian, bicycle, motor scooter, car or truck all have done things in from of my eyes that are mind boggling. One thing I notice, there is plenty of parking violation enforcement, but a total lack of moving violation enforcement. By the way don’t need speed bumps, when there are potholes all over. We pay hefty gasoline taxed, registration fees, and inspection fees…why aren’t our road better and safer?


While every accident or near-miss is regrettable, and I do encourage action to reduce their numbers, it’s not statistically accurate to single out this particular intersection. The op-ed’s author is making a hasty generalization because he happens to live in the area and has personally witnessed or heard of a number of incident occurring in that particular location. But taking even a brief look at some hard data (the NYC crashmapper site at is one excellent resource) proves that these stretches of 43rd st and 48th ave are nowhere near the worst in NYC. If one makes an argument that these roads require speedbumps andor red light cameras, then logically one could apply the same argument to practically half the intersections in the entire city, and obviously it’s not practical to have these types of measures everywhere. Also, stating that red light cameras are “excellent deterrents” is far from fact – many studies have shown that the presence of red light cameras does not necessarily reduce violations. I don’t know what the solution here is, but I just mainly wanted to point out that claiming that this intersection is particularly dangerous is a hasty generalization that is not supported by evidence.


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