For years, parents, students and staff at PS 232 in Lindenwood and those living and working nearby have warned that the intersection of 83rd Street and 153rd Avenue is a ticking time bomb.
For years their pleas have fallen on mostly deaf ears.
The corner just northwest of the school has no traffic light or stop sign. It doesn’t even have a crosswalk, and yet to access half of the neighborhood of Lindenwood, residents often cross at that spot. The busy Lindenwood Shopping Center is across from the school and parents often park there while picking up or dropping off their children and cross the avenue on foot.
For years the community has warned the city Department of Transportation that if something was not done soon, there would be tragedy.
On Tuesday morning, that’s exactly what happened.
According to sources, two adults and their special needs child were hit by a car at the intersection after leaving a meeting at the school. They were taken to Jamaica Hospital Medical Center with minor injuries and released Wednesday morning. One witness said the mother was thrown in the air by the force of the collision, but was not badly hurt.
The driver of the vehicle stayed at the scene and is not accused of any misconduct.
But the incident has pushed the panic button at the school.
“What is it going to take?” one parent asked Wednesday morning. “If this doesn’t light a fire under the city to do something, what will?”
Earlier this month, DOT officials joined sixth-graders at the school to put up signs made by the students around the school alluding to the dangers at the intersection. Parents and school officials took the opportunity to point out the problem to the agency’s representatives.
At the time, PS 232 Principal Lisa Josephson said she feared a tragedy was imminent and noted that several near misses had already taken place at the corner.
Part of the issue with the intersection is its layout. Though 83rd Street meets 153rd Avenue in a T-shape, the entrance and exit to the Lindenwood Shopping Center meets the intersection at an awkward angle on the north side of 153rd Avenue and would need to be factored into any light or stop sign placed there.
Nevertheless elected officials, in light of Tuesday’s incident, are calling for DOT to come up with a fix ASAP.
“Our children are put at risk each day that goes by without a traffic safety device outside PS 232,” state Sen. Joe Addabbo Jr. (D-Howard Beach), who met with Queens DOT Commissioner Dalia Hall at the intersection, said in a statement. “The city needs to stop reacting to injuries near PS 232 and start preventing them.”
Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder (D-Rockaway Park) said he was “outraged” that the problem has gone as far as it has.
“This accident was preventable and I demand the DOT take real action now to make these streets safer,” he said. “For years, together with faculty and parents, we have begged for action, let’s hope they finally hear our calls.”