Stop in the name of the kids

Still asking: Marine Park resident Lonnie Elkin has been begging for a stop sign on Stuart Street and Avenue S, where cars speed by daily, since 2011.
File photo by Steve Solomonson

The fix may finally be in!

Mayor DeBlasio promised to fast track a long-requested study to green light a stop sign along a notorious speedway that’s just a stone’s throw from a school during a Sheepshead Bay Town Hall on Sept. 14.

“If a school wants a stop sign, 30 feet from a school, it seems like one of the easier ideas I’ve heard today,” Hizzoner said. “I would like to see this, a positive outcome, that there will be a stop sign there by the end of October.”

Locals along the Stuart Street strip have been begging the city to put in the red octagon at Avenue S for nearly a decade because motorists hit the gas and risk plowing right into school kids coming and going from Marine Park Junior High School — they even circulated a petition more than five years ago demanding the Department of Transportation figure out traffic calming measures for the areas.

And at the gathering at the Connie Lekas School on Avenue Y between Haring and Batchelder streets, a Stuart Street woman held the city’s feet to the fire to ask point blank what could finally be done.

“You have three teachers at dismissal, they are in the middle of the street on Stuart, holding up stop signs basically being used as speed bumps to prevent the children from getting hit by cars,” the woman said.

The city plans to evaluate the intersection for pedestrian and vehicular traffic within the next few weeks, and if it all checks out, the agency will install the traffic calming measure within six weeks, by the end of October, DeBlasio said.

But Department of Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg was a little more measured in her response — warning that often a stop sign has the opposite effect and makes motorists speed up, she said.

“One of the challenges we have is when we look where we put a stop sign and signals, we do some steps to see what the pedestrian traffic looks like, because one of the things we look for, is in some places, people will blow through them because they don’t take them seriously, it’s a little counterintuitive,” she said. “But we will come and look at your location and see if we can put a stop sign in or if there are other creative solutions we can come up with.”

Another Stuart Street resident, who fought with the city back in 2011 when he worried speeders would hit his young children crossing the street, said he’s glad the city is finally taking more of an initiative, but that it should have been done years ago.

“Unbelievable that they haven’t put a stop sign there as of yet, I’m glad people are talking about it,” said Lonnie Elkin. “This is basically a no-brainer, there is a school there, there should be a stop sign. Every other school you got there is but this one. That it’s taken them six years to do a study is a shame, I can go on and on.”

Reach reporter Julianne Cuba at (718) 260–4577 or by e-mail at jcuba@cnglocal.com. Follow her on Twitter @julcuba.

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