To The Editor:
I am 62, disabled and walk with a cane. I have a disease of my spine and am mostly in pain. In the past six months, two people close to me have been hit by cars as pedestrians crossing at the light. Both survived, but it has been life changing. My friend was in a coma and his neck was broken. My father was hit in November, a week before his 88th birthday.
In both cases, the pedestrian was crossing with the light and car was turning in fast. I have spoken to NYPD traffic enforcement and the DOT. Basically, what I was told is that there are not enough police to be at every intersection or to view cameras and videos for offenders. The DOT claims that putting in bike lanes will help everyone—no, it will not. I was told that NYPD traffic enforcement meets with DOT regularly to review where most of the accidents take place and that they prioritize their budget and attention to be directed to where most of the accidents occur.
My father was hit at Queens Boulevard and 71st Avenue in Forest Hills on Nov. 15 during the day while crossing, and there were other accidents at that same intersection days apart from my father’s accident. But in the past six months, nothing has been done and no improvements have been made, so there goes the theory that if there are enough accidents at an intersection, something is done. Bike lanes are not improving anything, but rather making it harder for pedestrians because it used to be that when you cross Queens Boulevard, you only have to look in the direction the traffic is coming. Now, you have to look in every direction because the bicycles come in both directions and do not adhere to the lights or the rules. They go through lights all the time.
I heard there are plans to put trees on Queens Boulevard, but what is needed is more lights and cameras and lights that give pedestrians a chance to cross before giving the turn signal to cars. The mayor wants an amber alert for any driver who leaves the scene of an accident after hitting a pedestrian. Without cameras, there would be no means of tracking down the offender.
My friend was hit by a car on May 1 at Kings Highway and Nostrand Avenue in Brooklyn He was also crossing at the light. This is a 77-year-old man, who has been very active and done many fundraising walks for charitable causes. He was in a coma, all the bones in his neck were shattered and he is in an adult care facility. I wonder if his accident will be enough to justify a change at the intersection at which he was hit or whether there need to be more accidents before it can get the attention of NYPD traffic enforcement and the DOT.
I live at 108th Street in Forest Hills. I have had close calls on 108th Street, Yellowstone and Queens Boulevard. I see cars and bikes going through the light every day at various intersections and they turn fast and also block the cross walk. I don’t want to be a statistic. The technology exists to make every light a three-way light and have each traffic light include a camera to record when a car or bike is going through the light. This should be a priority because our quality of life and safety are at stake.