On Monday, September 27, Lasting Impressions Photography & Video, on Westchester Avenue, witnessed a new definition of air-mail.
At about 8:30 a.m. a two-car collision sent one car careening into a U.S. Post Office mailbox at the corner of Wilkinson and Westchester avenues. Since the roughly four-foot metal box was not bolted to the sidewalk, it flew into the air and through the front door at 3196 Westchester Avenue, which houses the photography studio along with several tenants.
According to Ed Romeo, who owns the building and studio, nobody was injured in the accident and only the door was severely damaged.
“The car skidded, hit the mailbox and it flew right through the door. Just walked through the front door and into the foyer,” he said.
The accident happened when a Nissan was traveling along Wilkinson towards Westchester Avenue and collided with a Cadillac that was heading south on Westchester Avenue towards Buhre Avenue. The Cadillac was forced off the road and into the mailbox.
Romeo guessed that the cars must have been traveling between 15 and 35 miles per hour.
While he was light-hearted about the accident, which will likely cost about $3,500 to repair the building, Romeo, who is also the president of the Pelham Bay Taxpayers Association, said accidents at the intersection have become a major hazard in the area. He believes that the city needs to take action.
During the summer there were several accidents and two people were even hit by cars at the intersection, Romeo said. There was a fatality there several years ago, but little has been done by the city to improve safety conditions.
“We’ve seen countless accidents there. Every now and then city DOT sends somebody to come and count cars, but nothing’s been done,” he said. “We need them to get serious. Enough is enough.”
Community Board 10 district manager Kenneth Kearns said about three years ago his board requested the installation of a light at the intersection, but the DOT responded that there was no need for the safety equipment at the time.
“They have a very limited criteria and if an intersection doesn’t exactly fit, they don’t put one in,” Kearns said, adding that the DOT must follow federal guidelines for installing lights at every intersection. “It’s very technical and very legal, but we’re going to ask again.”
Romeo suggested the DOT look into installing flashing red and yellow lights in the intersection if stop-lights are denied again.He also said he will also ask DOT to consider making Wilkinson a one-way street.
“That mailbox could have gone through my front window. It could have hit a customer. It was in the morning this time, but it could have happened anytime,” he said.
“We’re not going to keep getting lucky like this. We need to seriously sit down with DOT to discuss what can be done.”