The intersection previously had a two-way stop sign, but residents were still concerned about speeding on 99th Avenue, and began asking the Department of Transportation (DOT) for safety measures over a year ago.
“I spoke with some residents and all they really wanted was an all-way stop sign,” Queens DOT Commissioner Nicole Garcia said. “We asked the engineers to come out to take another look, and we were able to upgrade it from an all-way stop to the signal.
Councilman I. Daneek Miller is glad that the signal will prevent motorists from traveling from Farmers Boulevard to Francis Lewis Boulevard without having to stop. He said DOT is also studying the need for safety measures at 202nd Street and 99th Avenue as well.
“Vision Zero shouldn’t just be a Manhattan or Bayside thing,” he said. “We should not have to wait until fatalities occur for us to recognize that there is a need for a traffic device.”
Residents feel the signal has already impacted the community. However, Carlton Parks, who lives a few houses away from the new signal, is worried about the wooden pole one of the stoplights is attached to.
“The traffic lights are beautiful, but the pole is already leaning and they’ve put more weight on it by adding the signal light on it,” Parks said. “The lines from the pole were sagging, hitting people on the head when they were walking by, and all they did was wrap the cables and brace the leaning pole with another pole.”
Miller and Garcia were familiar with several other leaning poles the area, and is planning on reaching out to Verizon.
The new traffic signal is one of several steps being taken to improve the quality of life in the neighborhood. Starting on August 24, tractor trailers parked illegally parked on city streets will be fined $400, with the fine for a second offense doubling.
Miller said his office is working with three local precincts on an aggressive campaign to deter trucks from parking in the area.
“If your business plan doesn’t include where you’re going to park that truck, then you don’t have a business plan,” he said. “Most of them don’t operate in our community, they just park here because of the proximity to the airport.”