Safer streets at the beach

The city says it will prohibit cars from parking in areas closest to intersections along Oriental Boulevard so that drivers can see better and will also place a speed bump on Oxford Street between Shore and Oriental boulevards this spring in a bow to residents who have been complaining about unsafe conditions along the roadway for years.

In addition, three stop signs have been installed at both the Shore and Oriental boulevard entrances to Kingsborough Community College, said Community Board 15 Chairwoman Theresa Scavo at a Manhattan Beach Neighborhood Association meeting Monday night.

The news is a major victory for residents who say their complaints to the city have repeatedly fell on deaf ears.

“We feel more confident that the Department of Transportation is interested in what our concerns are,” said Neighborhood Association spokesman Edmund Dweck.

And these probably won’t be the last of the neighborhood’s road reforms.

Dweck and his civic cohort, Ron Biondo, had their long-awaited powwow with Brooklyn Transportation Commissioner Joseph Palmieri on Jan. 28 and proposed additional traffic safety measures, including stop signs along Hampton Avenue and a flashing yellow light on Exeter Street. Both Dweck and Biondo believe that their proposal will jump over the typical bureaucratic hurdles.

“I felt like we were talking to a friend and not a city official,” Dweck said. “I feel great about the meeting.”

Palmieri also promised to witness the nabe’s car chaos first-hand by visiting Manhattan Beach on a busy weekday, according to Dweck and Biondo.

“We seem to really have his ear and I expect things to move along quickly,” Biondo said.

Traffic was likely the most talked about problem in Manhattan Beach last year. There were 59 traffic accidents on Oriental Boulevard — including 10 people who were hit — from 2005 to 2010, according to Department of Transportation records. Calls for safety measures hit a fever-pitch in October after four-year-old Evan Svirsky was killed by a B49 bus on Oriental Boulevard.

The tight-knit neighborhood achieved a minor traffic triumph late last year when the city removed the Oriental Boulevard planters, which residents insisted impeded motorists’ vision.

But most people weren’t satisfied, especially because there have been 13 traffic accidents in the area just more than a month into 2011, according to statistics tallied by the 61st Precinct.

“The statistic may sound low, but it doesn’t make us feel any better because we are living with the safety issues in our community every day,” Biondo said.

The Neighborhood Association’s rival civic group, the Manhattan Beach Community Group, also plans to meet with the city to discuss traffic. A longstanding feud between the two groups prevented them from joining together for the summit.

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