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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.