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Sunday, November 20, 2011

Whitestone stop sign fight about the kids

Alfredo Molinari (far r.) stands with parents and just a portion of the kids who play on the block in front of the intersection he says cars speed through. By Joe Anuta

Alfredo Molinari is second-generation — as in the second generation of residents to fight for a stop sign on a Whitestone block teeming with children.

Molinari has taken up the helm of a two-decade battle to get a stop sign on the corner of 23rd Avenue and 157th Street, which he said will go a long way to protect the roughly 30 children that play there after school and on weekends.

“I want a stop sign only for the fact kids are playing outside and I want them to be safe,” said the father of three.

But the city Department of Transportation told residents that the intersection does not have enough traffic, nor accidents, to warrant a stop sign.

Molinari has lived his entire life on the block and said that cars shoot from Francis Lewis Boulevard down 23rd Avenue to get to the heart of Whitestone and vice versa. After getting off the boulevard and encountering two stop signs, Molinari said the two-block length before the next one becomes a dangerous mix of drag strip and playground.

“They speed down the block,” he said, adding that he sometimes has to take matters into his own hands. “I threw a ball at some guy’s car.”

The avenue runs across the entire neighborhood, and out of 12 standard intersections — where a two-way street intersects another two-way street at a 90-degree angle — it is the only one without a stop sign or stoplight.

The intersections on either side are a cookie-cutter match to 23rd Avenue and 157th Street, but even the older residents who had petitioned the DOT 20 years ago for one of the red octagons were unsuccessful..

But Molinari said children should be taken into account instead of just accidents.

“The most important of all is the population of children under the age of 15 or 13 that reside on both blocks,” he said.

On Monday evening, Molinari summoned the children out to the corner in question to demonstrate how many of them play in the area.

More than 20 youngsters emerged from houses along the street, carrying balls and gliding along the sidewalk on bikes and scooters.

There were accompanied by many parents who shared Molinari’s concerns.

Molinari has circulated a petition to the households surrounding the intersection and collected a lengthy docket of signatures.

Although this is the third time he has tried, he will submit the petition to Community Board 7 and ask, once again, for the city to put up the sign.

“We’re not going to rest and give up until something happens,” he said.

Reach reporter Joe Anuta by e-mail or by phone 718-260-4566.

We at the Malba Gardens Civic extend our support and offer our help in this endeavor.  Mr. Molinari is correct, the CHILDREN, must be taken into consideration.  DOT needs to step up and protect our children. 

Thursday, November 17, 2011

PS 209 to get One Way

Hopefully this will make it safer for the children.

One-way street OK’d by CB 7 near PS 20

Community Board 7 voted Monday night in favor of a one-way street conversion in Whitestone that would alleviate traffic congestion around an elementary school but also curb in appropriate behavior on the part of parents.

The proposal, which would be implemented by the city Department of Transportation, would convert 16th Road between Utopia Parkway and Willets Point Boulevard into a one-way, westbound road.

The idea is that by eliminating east-bound traffic, cars will more easily flow past PS 209, at 16-10 Utopia Parkway, which is on the eastern half of the road.

Residents like Wanda Young, who lives on the street, are in support of the plan. In fact, seven out of nine households on the block gave their support to the conversion, with the remaining two households not responding to a survey.

Each morning chaos ensues on the street outside PS 209, she said, speaking before the board.

School buses, parents and commuters converge on the street, she said, providing all the ingredients for a traffic nightmare.

“When there are no more legal parking spots, then parents will start to double park, block the driveways of the houses and even park in front of hydrants,” she said, urging the board to pass the measure.

Frustrated motorists, faced with the impasse of parents and buses, even pull U-turns by hopping the curb and driving on the sidewalk, she said. Young captured the mayhem in a video she posted on the Internet to prove her point.

The situation can be a dangerous one for children trying to cross the street, but it can also be a perilous one for educators and parents, according to Jacqueline Diaz-Fernandez, who works at the school.

“Our principal has been spit on, our assistant principal has been cursed at and parents have gotten into fights,” she said of the temporary turf war that breaks out as parents vie for parking spaces, park each other in and try and maneuver their cars and kids around the road.

The board overwhelmingly voted in favor of the proposal, which does not currently have a timeline for implementation, but some board members groused that making a street one way does nothing to change the bad behavior of parents.

Warren Schreiber voted in favor of the proposal because it only affected one block and the majority of the houses asked for it, but said he did not believe the conversion would completely alleviate the frustrating and possibly dangerous situation outside the school.

Another member foresaw double-, tripe- and even quadruple-parking by parents, who if given more space to flaunt traffic laws will expand into the unused portions of the road.

Reach reporter Joe Anuta by e-mail at or by phone at 718-260-4566

Now if only, they can help us on 5th avenue. 

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Francis Lewis Park to get some sort of traffic help

The following is a letter we recieved from the Queens Department of Transportation Commissioner.  While we are appreciative of the actions they plan on taking, we feel more needs to be done.  For example Speed Humps in front of the park would be helpful, especially since they were promised years ago.  Also, what about the intersection of the Whitestone Expressway Service road and 3rd avenue.  We would like to see Crosswalks painted white, with signage "Yeild to Pedestrians" on both intersections and the center entrance of the park. 

Again, we would like to thank the DOT Commissioner and hope she consider our suggestions for a safer passage to OUR park, for OUR children, and OUR families. 

Bellow is the letter recieved.  Baby steps are a great start.  

Alfredo Centola

Just recieved this letter. Baby steps are a good start.

Dear Mr. Centola:

This is in response to your July 8th e-mail regarding the traffic controls at the intersection of 147th Street and 3rd Avenue.

We completed our analysis last month. Factors such as vehicular and pedestrian volumes, vehicular speeds, visibility and signal spacing were all taken into consideration in making our determination. Based upon our evaluation of the data collected, it is our judgment that Multi-Way Stop controls are not recommended at this time.

However, we have issued orders to install Pedestrian Crossing signs on 3rd Avenue to enhance motorist’s awareness of pedestrians at the intersection.

Thank you for bringing this matter to our attention.


Maura McCarthy
Queens Borough Commissioner


November 16, 2011


Saturday, November 12, 2011

Sound Barriers on Whitestone Bridge approach.

Now that the construction on the Whitestone Bridge has begun and all the trees have been removed, we ask you our neighbors how is the sound level affecting your Quality of Life? 

We have been promised new trees once construction is completed in two or more years.  Problem is, they are going to add a "Breakdown" lane 18 feet.  This will bring traffic 18 feet closer to the homes and our community. So the young trees they plant will do nothing to reduce the noise that will be 18 feet closer to our homes.

We at Malba Gardens have been advocating for Sound Barrier Walls as well as landscaping in front of the wall once the project is complete.

Please share with us you thoughts , suggestions, and ideas.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Thank a Veteran

We are free to blog
Free to express our opinion
Free to agree and disagree

Free to decide the Military is not for Me
Free to be who and what you want to be

All this Free, comes with a price

Thank you Veterans, for our FREE.

God Bless America, and God Bless all Veterans.