East Flatbush seniors have some advice for lead-footed drivers in the neighborhood who leave them shaking nervously at street corners: Slow down and let us cross!
Throughout the neighborhood, elderly people are complaining that motorists are disobeying traffic laws with impunity, leaving them frozen on street corners.
“Drivers don’t even respect the double yellow lines,” said Desmond Best, who frequents a senior center at Remsen Avenue between Chuch Avenue and Avenue A, where impatient Andretties hit the gas to make the light. “They keep passing each other [by going into the opposing lane of traffic]. Someone is going to get killed.”
Best added that he would like to see police patrol the area in unmarked cars because without enforcement, the roads are a free-for-all.
Things aren’t much better at Tilden Avenue, where a three-way stop sign is a predecessor to a traffic light a block away.
“As they pass the stop sign, they rev their engines up,” said Abbie Davis. “Nobody wants to wait. Everyone’s in a hurry. They go 40, 50 miles an hour.”
Davis said he worries about children who attend two nearby schools, PS 244 and the Parkway School, who use the intersection.
“I look before I cross to make sure the street is clear, but a lot of people don’t do that, especially young kids,” he said.
Cops have come and given out tickets at the intersection, Davis added, but the enforcement has done little to curb the excessive speed of some drivers.
“When the police are around, they act nice, but when the police go, they go back to their old ways,” he noted.
Police officials agree there is a problem.
“Nobody wants to stop at stop signs or red lights. Nobody wants to wait,” said Deputy Inspector Corey Pegues, the commanding officer of the 67th Precinct. “But, it’s up to the police to enforce the vehicle and traffic laws and we will.”
Pegues promised that the cops would survey the locations that people have complained about, while focusing on intersections where lots of accidents occur.
“We know pretty much where there are problem areas,” he said. “We are looking at the entire precinct, but everything can’t be a priority.”
Tilden and E. 53rd has been identified as a high accident location, according to the city’s Department of Transportation. Agency Spokesman Scott Gastel said that the city would study the two intersections to see if any added traffic control devices are needed.
The stretch of Remsen Avenue is a different matter. Gastel said there had been approximately four accidents per year for the past five years, with one pedestrian injury each year at Remsen and Church, and fewer than three per year at Remsen and Avenue A, with one pedestrian injury throughout the five-year period.
The city has begun studying portions of East Flatbush as part of the Department of Transportation’s Safe Streets for Seniors initiative, whose purpose is to redesign potentially hazardous intersections to make it safer and easier for seniors to cross.
East Flatbush is one of 25 neighborhoods throughout the city that have been identified by the Transportation Department as being appropriate locations for the Safe Streets for Seniors program, because of high senior populations, and a high number of pedestrian accidents involving the elderly.