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'Intersection of Doom' Needs Safety Improvements, Kew Gardens Residents Say

By Ewa Kern-Jedrychowska | September 26, 2016 4:27pm
 Locals say the intersection of Metropolitan Avenue and Park Lane South is dangerous for pedestrians. 
Locals say the intersection of Metropolitan Avenue and Park Lane South is dangerous for pedestrians. 
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DNAinfo/Ewa Kern-Jedrychowska

KEW GARDENS — A group of Kew Gardens residents, who said a corner in their neighborhood is so dangerous for pedestrians that they started calling it the “Intersection of Doom,” are pushing for traffic safety improvements, including a red light camera and lane separators.

Locals started a petition urging the city to make a number of changes at the busy intersection of Park Lane South and Metropolitan Avenue, near Forest Park, which serves two bus routes — the Q54 and Q37 — and is located less than 300 feet from a daycare center, they said.

“On a daily basis, pedestrians are faced with cars speeding well above the 25MPH limit along Metropolitan Ave., dangerous drivers who turn against the left-turn light on Park Lane South with no regard for pedestrians who have already entered the crosswalks, and cars and motorcycles who have taken to racing along Metropolitan Ave. at night as though it was part of the Grand Prix course,” residents wrote in the petition, which as of Monday had 135 signatures.

From 2012 to September 2016, nine people were injured in crashes at the intersection, according to data provided by the Department of Transportation.

Residents said they want the city to install a red light camera on Metropolitan Avenue between Forest Park Drive and Park Lane South, which they hope would deter motorists from speeding.

They also want the city to install lane separators on Park Lane South, where cars wait for the left-turn arrow to change, which they said would prevent drivers from turning too sharply onto Metropolitan Avenue while pedestrians are already in the crosswalk.

Locals also told DNAinfo New York they want the DOT to un-sync the traffic signals and the crosswalk signals, to give pedestrians extra time to cross Metropolitan Avenue before the traffic light switches to green.

“There are people with strollers, there are people with small children, there are elderly people with wheelchairs,” said Claire Mangan, 40, a magazine editor who lives nearby.

“Drivers just don’t care, they will mow you over if they can get to the next light,” she said.

Residents sent the petition to Community Board 9, which forwarded it to the DOT, a representative for CB9 said.

“No one should feel like they’re taking their lives into their own hands by the simple act of crossing the street,” locals wrote in a letter sent to CB9 along with the petition.

Following complaints from her constituents, City Councilwoman Karen Koslowitz also reached out to the DOT in early August and was told that the agency would conduct a study at the intersection, her office said.

The DOT said that it has recently resurfaced the intersection and updated its street markings.

The agency added that it’s currently working on a safety improvement project for the Park Lane South corridor between Myrtle Avenue and Forest Park Drive, which includes the Metropolitan Avenue and Park Lane South intersection.

The proposal will be presented to the community this fall, the agency said.