By Connor Adams Sheets
Residents of one Whitestone neighborhood say they are fed up with recurring car crashes at what they describe as a dangerous intersection, and the city announced Tuesday that it will undertake a new study to evaluate whether to take steps to address their concerns.
The intersection of 149th Street and 10th Avenue has been the site of at least 30 car accidents in the past decade, neighbors say, and the damage is not limited to the vehicles involved in the incidents.
Barbara and Victor Castellano live with their family in a home on the corner in question, where two of their brood’s cars were crushed while parked by vehicles speeding through the residential area in separate incidents three years ago.
“People think it’s a four-way stop-sign, and they don’t realize it’s not and they just blow right by,” Victor Castellano said Oct. 6, the day after the most recent crash sent a driver to the hospital. “People don’t even slow down, they just fly past here.”
The Castellanos and other nearby families, including that of neighbor Janet Smith, have taken a number of avenues to get signs installed on 149th, from calling and writing the city Department of Transportation and elected officials to threatening more drastic measures.
“I’m ready to paint a yellow line and paint ‘stop’ out there and get arrested for it because I’m fed up,” Barbara Castellano said.
In September 2009, the DOT denied a request for two new stop signs at the intersection, but a spokesman said Tuesday that the DOT will initiate a new 12-week study of the location. The spokesman said there were only two injuries and no deaths to motor vehicle occupants recorded there between 2006 and 2010, and no pedestrian injuries or deaths.
Neighbor Monica Rubin’s said her fence was destroyed when an errant vehicle drove through it, and a motorcyclist was killed near the corner several years ago after colliding with a vehicle at the intersection.
"We have kids walking home from school,” Rubin said last week, a day after the Honda van and Infiniti sedan crashed. “Yesterday my son was riding his bike right near here, and the car was up in their yard. Imagine if he had been there. It’s insane.”
Photo courtesy the Castellano family