Fay Hill of Springfield Gardens never had to ask what happened when she was awakened early in the morning to the sound of screeching tires followed by a loud crash.
And she knew it was at the intersection of 181st Street and 145th Avenue.
“It’s a loud bang,” she said. “We’ve lived hear 37 years. I started fighting for a four-way stop sign when my friend’s daughter got hurt.”
She and others got the signs in early February, largely a result of Councilman Donovan Richards (D-Laurelton) lobbying the city Department of Transportation.
Two signs, stopping east- and westbound on 145th, now form a four-way-stop intersection along with pre-existing signs halting north-south traffic. Richards, speaking with residents at the intersection on Monday, said those in the neighborhood who worked so hard for so many years deserve to call the results of the last two months a victory.
The Councilman has had numerous neighborhoods complain about speeding since he took office in 2012, and has made it one of his top priorities. And he had a firsthand experience of his own with the intersection of 181st Street and 145th Drive.
“Every time I was campaigning out in the neighborhoods, people talked to me about reducing speeding,” Richards said. “I remember knocking on doors here when I couldn’t even cross [145th Avenue] because of the traffic. You had a stretch of about five blocks where no cars had to stop.”
Richards said he is encouraged by the emphasis Mayor de Blasio is giving his Vision Zero plan to reduce traffic deaths and injuries.
Resident Doris Bathersfield and her daughter, Allison Stoby, knocked on doors, promoted petitions and wrote to city agencies and elected leaders for several years. She said the results of the new signs are tangible to those living nearby.
“The signs went up in early February,” she said. “I don’t think there has been an accident here since.”
Hill, Bathersfield and some of their neighbors who had been instrumental in getting the signs had been invited to the press conference by Richards’ office.
Resident Arjune Seegolam stopped by on his way out to work to thank Richards when he learned that the Councilman was there.
“My son and daughter have been hurt in accidents here,” he explained after shaking Richards’ hand.
Afterward, Hill had more good news — a letter to Richards from the DOT saying that it has approved a speed bump nearby, on 184th Street between 147th Avenue and 145th Drive.
“We have a lot left to do,” Richards said. “But this is a small victory.”