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Queens Chronicle

Try, try again: no light for 68th and Cooper

Officials, residents call it a hazard

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Posted: Thursday, September 20, 2012 10:30 am | Updated: 10:56 am, Thu Sep 27, 2012.

Every September, Principal Philip Ciani welcomes new and returning students to St. Pancras School in Glendale.

And every September his frustration grows with the city’s inaction on what he and community leaders have been saying for years is a serious traffic hazard one block south of his school.

The hazard is the lack of a traffic light where 68th Street meets Cooper Avenue. St. Pancras is a block away at the southeast corner of 68th Street and Myrtle Avenue.

“I’m here seven years and this fight has been going in since before I came,” Ciani said. The two parish pastors Ciani has served under have petitioned the city for a traffic light.

And Community Board 5 has attempted for years to have a light included as part of numerous other projects carried out by the city’s Department of Transportation in the neighborhood.

Most recently CB 5 Chairman Vincent Arcuri Jr. and his Transportation Committee tried to make the light part of a triangular pedestrian plaza just to the east at the intersection of Cooper and Myrtle avenues.

Cooper curves to the north on both sides of the T-junction with 68th Street.

“Which means you have two blind curves coming out from 68th,” Ciani said. “You can’t see if you want to make a left turn onto Cooper. People are coming off the [Jackie Robinson] parkway and speeding. And you have the entrance to Cypress Hill Cemetery right there at the intersection.

“And I have a lot of students who are walkers along there,” he said. “I don’t want to wait until somebody gets killed.”

Ciani said the DOT has tried daylighting, or the elimination of parking spaces near the corners at the intersection to help with visibility.

But when it comes to a light, the parish, CB 5 and everyone else over the years received the same answer that the Chronicle got from the DOT — it has studied the intersection numerous times and the conditions do not meet the criteria for a traffic signal.

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