As everyone knows the roadways surrounding Juniper Valley Park are speedways. Over the years the JPCA has tried to get some kind of traffic calming mechanisms in place. It has been a frustrating endeavor.
The Department of Transportation (DOT) has done many traffic studies on Juniper Blvd. North and Juniper Blvd. South. The most recent study on the southside of the park has determined that 75 Street and Juniper Blvd. South warrants a traffic light.
The people on the southside and the Juniper Park Civic Association are totally against a traffic light because it has been our experience the lights only encourage people to drive faster to try to “beat the light.” The light creates more hazards than it solves. We have asked for and have been denied three-way stop signs on Juniper South between 7l Street and 80 Street.
At a meeting with DOT at Queens Borough Hall it was decided to do yet another traffic study on Juniper South at 76 Street, the street with the sharp curve. About the curve, DOT states that when they analyzed this curve it didn't even reach the DOT criteria as being a big problem. Yet residents of the area have witnessed many accidents at this site. Just last December a man was killed hitting a tree at this curve. DOT stated that if people are going to speed, anything is possible. Certainly no one could disagree with that statement.
We asked that 25 mile speed signs be installed to replace the 30 mile per hour signs now posted, citing the heavy pedestrian traffic in Juniper Valley Park and the school crossings. Again, we were up against a blank wall with DOT. “You have to understand that reducing the speed to 25 miles per hour will solve nothing,” that's their speech.
With regard to Juniper Blvd. North all agreed that there is a tremendous amount of speeding on that street. Yet traffic studies have indicated that there are not enough accidents to warrant any traffic signals. We pushed hard for stop signs and DOT agreed to do yet another traffic study. Somehow when you hear the criteria speeches from DOT you get the feeling that dealing with this agency is a waste of time.
In effect what is required by DOT in any traffic signal situation is that accidents occur. Sad to say, if someone dies, well then, you're getting close to the DOT criteria. It's bizarre. Prevention is not a word they use.
Both the boulevards are disasters waiting to happen. In the past couple of weeks there were two very serious accidents on Juniper Blvd. North. One was on October 6 when a car overturned at the corner of Juniper North and 80 Street in a two car crash and the other just a week later when a car driven by a drunken driver crashed into the railroad on Juniper North and Lutheran Avenue.
DOT is going to ask the police to monitor the speeding on both the roadways and issue tickets when appropriate. We've been there, done that and everyone knows that a sustained police presence is not a realistic solution to the problem. The police simply do not have the resources or inclination to camp out and wait for the violations.
We only hope that it's not going to take body bags to jumpstart the much needed traffic control necessary on these streets, which exist on the periphery of the 55 acre Juniper Valley Park.
We will continue to stay on the problem and do whatever we can to get the kind of signaling we feel we need to control these roadways.