All-way stop signs are coming to two high traffic intersections in Bayside.
Inspired by a letter of concern sent by Bayside resident James McHale, Sen. Tony Avella, D-Bayside, said he appealed to officials at the U.S Department of Transportation to clarify a misleading City DOT regulation that would help cut red tape to add all-way stop signs for two dangerous intersections.
It began with a letter to NYC DOT Commissioner Janet Sadik Khan requesting a new traffic study for possible locations of an all-way stop on the busy intersections of 39th Ave, 208th St. and 36th Ave, Corporal Kennedy St.
Senator Avella said he received many complaints from residents regarding the reckless vehicular traffic in two Bayside locations and had taken swift action to correct the hazardous condition.
“I can’t tell you how many complaints, I received about these locations,” said Avella.
Avella researched the requirements for installing traffic taming devices, and said he discovered that The NYC DOT website had incorrectly stated a requirement for installing the new stop signs.
“Not all the criteria must be reached,” according to Avella, adding, “The federal DOT issues guidelines that the City relies on too heavily.”
Concerned that the City may have misinterpreted the federal guidelines as requirements, Avella confirmed the need for an all-way stop sign with the federal Department of Transportation.
The U.S DOT stated that the they were contacted by the NYC DOT who advised them that their “FAQ section incorrectly implies a rigidity that is not intended or practiced, and that they will modify their Web site accordingly.”
Avella said he finally received a letter in August from NYC DOT Queensboro Commissioner Maura McCarthy, claiming that The NYC DOT had reevaluated a previous study, and had agreed to installing the traffic taming devices, after they were already installed.
NYC DOT Spokesman, Scott Gastel, wrote in an email that they had opened studies to evaluate if traffic controls devices would be suitable at the locations. The results found that all-way stops were appropriate and were thus installed in July at the locations of 36th Ave and Corporal Kennedy and 39th Ave and 208th St.
Despite the new signs, Senator Avella remains skeptical of the level of accountability at NYC DOT.
Pedestrian malls, bicycle lanes, these things seem to be the top priority at DOT, rather than basic traffic safety, he said.
The incorrect information on a city government website is symptomatic of an unbalanced approach that must be balanced with community input, according to Avella.
“I’m finally glad that it did happen, although it is unfortunate that the [City] DOT had taken all this time,” Avella said, reflecting on the situation as a campaign promise he made during his bid for State Senate in 2010.
Heather McHale, who resides in a corner house on 39th Ave. noticed an increased police presence issuing moving violations to vehicles not yielding to the new signs.
“Sure, signs would help a lot, if people would stop,” she quipped.
When asked if he felt that the new all way stop signs would increase pedestrian safety and help reduce front-end collisions, Avella said, “Even with all the devices in the world, people need to drive responsibly.”
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