Sidewalk success: City initiates safety improvements at treacherous S’Park gas station

Sidewalk success: City initiates safety improvements at treacherous S’Park gas station
Community News Group / Julianne McShane

It’s a “death trap” no more.

The city finally took steps to corral cars in a Fourth Avenue gas station’s parking lot where motorists habitually drove on the sidewalks, endangering local youngsters walking to a nearby school.

The Sunset Park mom who led the call for safety improvements commended officials for addressing her and other neighborhood parents’ concerns.

“Everyone did everything that they said they would do,” said Arsenia Reilly-Collins, a 31st Street resident who passes the Speedway gas station daily while walking her son Declan to school at nearby PS 172.

Department of Transportation workers installed granite-block barricades at the station between 30th and 31st streets, and Speedway employees painted arrows clearly marking where cars should enter and exit the lot.

Reilly-Collins and other parents first complained in January that the city put kids’ lives at risk by ignoring the problems of cars speeding into the station — which PS 172 principal Jack Spatola said has been a danger since it opened about a decade ago — and erratically driving onto the sidewalks to reach its fuel pumps.

And weeks later, following this newspaper’s reports on the station’s hazards, a slew of local pols sent a letter to the mayor demanding he force the Transportation Department to act.

Transit leaders then installed the four granite blocks meant to serve as barricades near the station’s entrances and exits in early March, along with stop and “no standing” signs at the 31st Street exit, which prevents trucks from stopping to unload curbside, according to an agency spokesman.

Speedway workers finished painting arrows directing traffic flow in the lot by March 24, according to a Transportation Department spokeswoman, who added that the agency is also finalizing plans to hang “watch for pedestrians” signage.

Spatola previously called for additional precautions, including posting “school zone” signs within a two-block radius of his learning house, extending the crossing guard’s hours from 3:30 to 6:30 pm at the 30th Street intersection to accommodate students in the after-school program, and adding a second crossing guard at 31st Street.

And although Reilly-Collins welcomed the improvements, she still hopes gas-station bigwigs will trim bushes at the corner of the Speedway’s 31st Street exit to get rid of a dangerous blind spot, and that stakeholders will meet once more with parents to review the effectiveness of the new safety measures.

“We have to get all the players in a room together to make assessments, adjustments, and additions,” she said.

Reach reporter Julianne McShane at (718) 260–2523 or by e-mail at jmcsh[email protected]nglocal.com. Follow her on Twitter @juliannemcshane.
Follow the arrows: Speedway painted arrows marking the direction in which cars should travel and installed a stop sign, and plans to install more signage, according to a rep.
Community News Group / Julianne McShane