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Letters May 17, 2012  RSS feed

Call To Make Streets In Woodhaven Safer

Dear Editor:

A bump in the road is not usually a good thing. But in Woodhaven, it could help save a life.

Woodhaven’s roads are unusually long and straight—an invitation to many drivers to speed. The need for new speed humps is especially apparent to those who live in this neighborhood.

By the way, speed humps are different from speed bumps, which are narrower, taller, noisier, require vehicles to come to an almost complete stop, and tend to be used in private parking lots.

For example, I live on a residential one-lane street that runs almost 1,300 feet without a single curve, stop sign, traffic light, or speed hump. That’s a straightaway over three times the distance from home plate to the centerfield wall at Citi Field.

As you can imagine, drivers often zip down this street without a care in the world. In the process, they endanger children, pedestrians, and other cars trying to turn onto my street.

Many roads in Woodhaven are similar, and some are hundreds of feet longer than mine—again, with nothing to prompt drivers to slow down.

So I was pleased to see that Community Board 9 will consider requesting the installation of three new speed humps in Woodhaven: one on 80th Street between Park Lane South and Jamaica Avenue; another on 98th Street between Jamaica Avenue and Park Lane South; and a third on 94th Street between 89th and Jamaica avenues. At its May 8 meeting, Board 9 heard residents speak in favor of the installations, and the board will vote on them at a future meeting. This is an excellent development, but it’s not enough.

By my unofficial count, there are about a dozen speed humps in Woodhaven, many of which are near schools or parks, and all of which are well-labeled. There are, however, even more stretches of roads in the neighborhood that would benefit from something to slow cars down.

The Woodhaven Residents’ Block Association (WRBA) supports new speed humps, and I hope Community Board 9 votes in favor of the three proposed installations.

If you would like to see a speed hump installed on your block, contact the WRBA; we might be able to help.

The Department of Transportation will have to assess the proposal, and residents on the affected block will also have to sign a petition supporting the speed hump. We’re willing to work with residents to try to move the process along.

Some of your neighbors might be unconvinced about the merits of a speed hump. They might worry that it will hurt property values. But you can tell them rigorous scholarly studies and interviews by journalists indicate that speed bumps (let alone the gentler speed humps) have no nega- tive impact on property values. They might voice concern about slowing down emergency vehicles. But there would never be enough speed humps in the neighborhood to impact response times significantly.

So think about whether swift traffic poses a danger on your block, and contact the WRBA if you’d like our help. Our e-mail address is info@woodhaven-nyc.org, and our mailing address is 84-20 Jamaica Ave., Woodhaven, NY 11421.

When it comes to improving traffic safety in Woodhaven, the community should move full speed ahead.

Alexander Blenkinsopp

Woodhaven

Editor’s note: The author is a member of Community Board 9 and director of communications for the Woodhaven Residents Block Association.

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