Accident prone intersection demands change, parents say

The intersection of East 188th Street and Bathgate Avenue has once again raised safety concerns after a crossing guard was struck there three weeks ago.
Photo by Walter Pofeldt

Safety concerns for a accident prone intersection have resurfaced after a recent incident put a crossing guard in the hospital.

On Friday, May 15, the crossing guard was struck by a car outside of Our Lady of Mount Carmel School at around 8:20 a.m. as students were arriving for class.

“In an unfortunate incident this morning, school crossing guard Jenny Arias was struck by a car at the intersection of East 188th Street and Bathgate in Belmont. She is in great pain, but in stable condition and much appreciation goes to Local 372 for monitoring her progress. My staff and I send our thoughts and prayers to Jenny and her family and wish her a speedy recovery,” Councilman Ritchie Torres said.

In years prior, parents and school faculty have petitioned the New York City Department of Transportation to have either an all-way stop sign or traffic light installed at this intersection, however their request were denied by the DOT’s traffic study.

The area’s present signage and faded crosswalk paint is deemed insufficient by community members and local elected officials in enforcing traffic laws and safeguarding pedestrians and students as they cross the street.

“I share the frustrations of the Mount Carmel school community in advocating for preventive traffic measures. For the past four years, Mount Carmel has reached out to the city’s Department of Transportation to get traffic calming measures implemented at that dangerous intersection,” Torres expressed. “They’ve requested speed bumps, stop signs, and lane markings to no avail. While DOT has made the reduction of traffic related fatalities a priority through Vision Zero, in this case instead of implementing the measures it prolonged the process by requesting a study to be conducted first. Our children and community members deserve an immediate solution not more red tape and excuses from city agencies.”

“Now is the time to take action. I will convene a meeting between DOT, school leaders and community members to discuss what traffic calming measures can be implemented. I’ll also work with my colleagues in the City Council to introduce legislation to require DOT to install traffic calming measures in front of schools. We cannot wait for another school crossing guard or one of our children to be hurt to demand change,” he added.

According to the NYPD’s Motor Vehicle Collision Data Report for April 2015, a collision occurred at this intersection involving two individuals, one driving a sports utility / station wagon vehicle and another driving a vehicle labeled “unknown,” however no injuries were reported in that particular incident.

On Friday, May 15, Senator Jeff Klein wrote to NYCDOT Commissioner Constance Moran on behalf of the school urging her to reevaluate this intersection following the morning’s incident.

“It’s clear that something needs to be done to improve traffic safety at the intersection of East 188th Street and Bathgate Avenue,” Senator Klein stated. will benefit all residents. ”

According to a NYCDOT spokesperson, the department is currently re-evaluating the feasibility of an all-way stop sign for the intersection and is looking into installing a speed bump on East 188th Street between Washington and Bathgate avenues.

NYCDOT will refurbish the street markings as well as check the area’s school crossing and school zone signs to evaluate if additional signage is required.

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