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Queens Chronicle

CB 13 DM: Sunlight causing car crashes

Says warnings of seasonal hazards needed

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Posted: Thursday, February 21, 2013 10:30 am | Updated: 10:37 am, Thu Feb 28, 2013.

Drivers getting blinded by the bright setting sun may be causing car crashes, according to Larry McClean, the district manager for Community Board 13, and he wants the city’s Department of Transportation to look into methods of warning drivers about possible seasonal dangers.

“The sun is setting sooner, earlier in the day,” McClean said. “And you can’t move the sun, so we need to alert DOT that a hazardous condition exists.”

Problem areas include westbound on strips such as Union Turnpike, Hillside Avenue, Jamaica Avenue and Linden Boulevard from 4 to 6 p.m. during November through the end of March, McClean said.

“We’re in a situation where drivers cannot actively see the person crossing the street, especially if they are crossing against the light,” he said. “Bus drivers shade their eyes and put their visors down, but it’s still hard to see.”

McClean suggests that the DOT alert motorists to beware of the blinding sunlight by putting up signs, sending out notices and spreading the message on news broadcasts.

“They could have something that scrolls across the bottom of the screen on the morning news,” he said.

McClean added that he has brought the idea to the attention of the DOT, and the agency said it would look into what could be done. But sunlight isn’t the only thing CB 13 is concerned about when it comes to motor vehicle accidents.

Speeding is also a problem in the district with several pedestrians being struck by vehicles in recent months.

McClean and Clive Williams, the chairman of the board’s Public Safety Committee, conducted a tour of the district in December and McClean created a rough map documenting where crashes are prevalent. He gave a copy to the police and the DOT.

A spokesman for the latter could not immediately comment on the sun issue.

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