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Queens Chronicle

School safety concerns go beyond Lindenwood

As city tries to fix PS 232 problem, spotlight shines on other areas

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Posted: Thursday, November 21, 2013 10:30 am | Updated: 10:37 am, Wed Nov 27, 2013.

Back in June, students and parents at PS 232 rallied in front of the school on 153rd Avenue in Lindenwood demanding safer crossings there, specifically at the corner of 153rd Avenue and 83rd Street, where a number of students and parents often jaywalk to reach the Lindenwood Shopping Center across the street.

Four months after that rally, there were signs of progress, though the city Department of Transportation did not install crosswalks or stop signs or traffic lights. Instead, the DOT put up a large speed board warning drivers to slow down to 25 mph on that stretch of road.

But some are not impressed.

“It’s the least they could do. No seriously, it’s the least,” one parent cynically joked when asked about the sign.

Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder (D-Rockaway Park) said the speed board is a temporary fix and a more permanent solution is being looked at.

“It’s a first step,” Goldfeder said at a meeting of Community Board 10 on Nov. 7. “DOT is continuing its study of the roads around PS 232 and we’re going to have much more permanent solutions very soon.”

One solution the DOT is looking at is the construction of speed bumps on 83rd Street and 153rd Avenue.

“It should not have to take a tragedy for the city to act,” he said.

While the situation at PS 232 has received a lot of attention, several other locations around schools in South Queens have become worrisome.

Last month, Goldfeder called for a traffic study similar to the one being done at PS 232 to also be conducted at MS 210 in Ozone Park, especially along 93rd Street, which runs along the west side of the school.

The assemblyman noted the lack of crosswalks around the school and the constant problem of parents double-parking when picking up their children.

Geoffrey Duldulao, chairman of CB 10’s Education Committee, said at the board’s Nov. 7 meeting that there have been issues at JHS 202 in Ozone Park, where a student was nearly hit by a Sanitation truck on Lafayette Street recently.

Duldulao said the incident occurred because the student was not paying attention to where she was walking.

“These kids, they’re always looking down at their phones and not in front of them,” he said. “And then they step out into the street, still with their eyes on the phones.”

Garbage pickups at schools do not start until 4 p.m., while collection on blocks near schools, like Lafayette Street, occurs in the morning, mostly before school is in session, though sometimes lingering long enough to coincide with the morning arrival of students.

JHS 202 is also home to a high school, and many of its students travel by public transportation and walk from bus stops on Cross Bay Boulevard, two blocks away.

Meanwhile, at PS 63, the problem of double-and triple-parked cars remains, more than six months after a parent was injured after being hit by a car near the school.

Back in April, several elected officials suggested looking into the possibility of closing the roads on the side of the school — 90th and 91st streets — but that proposal has not yet been explored.

Goldfeder also asked for a traffic study to be done at PS 63, as well as around PS 207 in Howard Beach, where some parents have expressed concern about speeding cars on the residential streets that surround the school.

“You can drive 10 blocks between Cross Bay and 84th Street without hitting a stop sign,” a PS 207 parent said about 159th Avenue, which runs along the north end of the school and is crossed by a number of students in the morning and afternoon. “It’s a death trap. I see cars race down the road all the time.”

Similar problems occur on 160th Avenue on the south side of PS 207, where there is an entrance to the school’s playground.

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