From the Queens Courier:
Getting to and from a Whitestone playground is no walk in the park, some residents say.
The lack of a crosswalk or traffic controls at the 3rd Avenue and 147th Street entrance to Francis Lewis Park is dangerous to pedestrians, said Malba Civic Association president Alfredo Centola.
“It’s a beautiful park,” Centola said. “These poor kids, with their parents, whenever they come to the park to play, they have to take their lives in their hands.”
Most residents must cross three-way traffic to enter and leave the park, located at the edge of the East River, since the majority of homes in the area lie across 147th Street.
Irene Rama of Whitestone said sometimes she and her kids are forced to stop in the middle of the street to avoid an oncoming car even after stopping to look in every direction beforehand.
Residents say a piece of property, bordered by jutting construction boards, that is being developed directly next to the park impairs the vision of pedestrians trying to cross.
Centola said he has sent the DOT a letter of complaint every 18 months since 2005.
Queens Borough Commissioner Maura McCarthy mailed the civic leader a response in 2011 saying the department completed an analysis and determined “Multi-Way Stop controls are not recommended at this time.”
“Factors such as vehicular and pedestrian volumes, vehicular speeds, visibility and signal spacing were all taken into consideration in making our determination,” the correspondence reads.
Shortly after the letter, the city installed one pedestrian crossing sign in front of the park, but it only faces one direction of traffic. Centola said the sign is also too high for drivers to see.
“At this point, I’m speechless and dumbfounded,” he said. “The DOT is once again being negligent and refusing to take care of the issues.”