Golfers Want Traffic Light to Stop Drivers on Road Through Public Course

By Nicholas Rizzi on March 26, 2014 7:08am 

 Organizers of a youth golf league have started a push to add a traffic light on Richmond Hill Road to make it safer for players at LaTourette Park and Golf Course who have to cross the busy street to finish the course or hit the driving range.
Organizers of a youth golf league have started a push to add a traffic light on Richmond Hill Road to make it safer for players at LaTourette Park and Golf Course who have to cross the busy street to finish the course or hit the driving range.
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DNAinfo/Nicholas Rizzi

NEW SPRINGVILLE — Golfers are pushing for traffic lights on a road that snakes its way through their Staten Island fairway.

The public LaTourette Park and Golf Course is split down the middle by Richmond Hill Road, forcing players to dodge traffic in order to complete their game or get to the driving range.

Debbie Mastromarino, president of the New York City Junior Golf Club, wants the city to add traffic lights to increase safety at the crossing point.

"Somebody's going to get killed there," she said. "There's no doubt to anybody that plays up there that something will happen and somebody will really get hurt."

Mastromarino's group of roughly 250 children relocated to LaTourette when the Staten Island Golf Practice Center closed in February. LaTourette has the only public driving range in Staten Island.

But parents immediately started voicing concern about the busy street.

"I have special needs children that I have to cross there and it's scary," Mastromarino said. "The easiest and safest way to cross that street is with a traffic light."

The general manager of LaTourette said he could not comment.

Despite flashing warning lights already being in place, Mastromarino said they were easily ignored by drivers. The amount of vehicles means people can be stuck waiting for a long time before getting a chance to cross.

She said people have parked golf carts in the middle of the road to stop cars while kids in her league cross safely, but angry drivers beep at them while they cross — and some even yell at them for blocking the road.

"A gentleman got out of his car and started yelling 'how dare you block traffic,'" Mastromarino said. "That's the mentality of some people on Staten Island."

While Mastromarino said there have been other ideas kicked around throughout the year to get golfers safely across the street — including a tunnel or an overpass — but they all failed for various reasons. She said a traffic light would make the most sense.

A Department of Transportation spokesman said it previously installed flashing yellow warning lights at the intersection after a study. The department plans to look at it again because of Mastromarino's recent push.

"Safety is the DOT’s top priority and earlier reviews of this location resulted in the installation of flashing warnings signal and increased signage," said the spokesman, Nicholas Mosquera.

"Following the recent community request, the agency will conduct another intersection study and see if additional traffic controls are feasible."

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