Parents want stop sign near St. Sebastian’s school
by Benjamin Fang
May 08, 2019 | 1691 views | 0 0 comments | 68 68 recommendations | email to a friend | print
On Valentine’s Day last year, an 83-year-old woman was crossing the street at Woodside Avenue and 57th Street when she was fatally struck by a car.

The woman, whose identity the police never revealed, was pronounced dead at the scene.

The NYPD’s Highway Collision Investigation Squad later tweeted that the driver was charged with failure to yield to a pedestrian.

Nine months later, an 82-year-old pedestrian was struck by a driver backing up into nearly the same spot. The motorist left the scene without reporting the incident.

The victim was knocked to the pavement and suffered injuries to her face and left hand.

According to Vision Zero data, since 2012 there have been 13 total injuries and one fatality at the Woodside intersection, which sits adjacent to St. Sebastian’s Catholic Academy.

More than a year after that tragic Valentine’s Day incident, local students and parents say they still see cars zooming down Woodside Avenue.

Sunnyside resident Dorothy Morehead, whose granddaughter Sophie attends St. Sebastian’s, said hundreds of students leave school in the afternoon. While the younger kids get picked up by their parents, the older students typically walk home themselves.

“There is no protection at the corner,” she said. “No traffic light, no stop sign, no crossing guard.”

Moreheard learned that Principal JoAnn Dolan asked for a stop sign, but to no avail. When the Sunnysider and longtime member of Community Board 2 inquired about how to convince the city to install one, she was told to circulate a petition.

Last Thursday, Morehead submitted a petition with more than 400 signatures to the board during its monthly meeting.

She noted that students cross not only to get home, but to get to the St. Sebastian’s community center just across the street. There, students partake in swimming, basketball and other after-school activities.

“It’s a mass of children all at once,” she said.

It’s not just kids crossing the street. Woodside resident Kathleen Nesdale, a parent and alumna of St. Sebastian’s, said there are many seniors in the surrounding area.

In addition to the Catholic School, there is also PS 11, PS 361 and Doughboy Park, all within a two-block radius.

“I can’t tell you how many people make this turn without looking,” Nesdale said, “and how many people blow this stop sign at a speed you wouldn’t believe.”

Nina, a seventh-grade student at St. Sebastian’s Catholic Academy, said she remembers when the 83-year-old woman was struck and killed at the intersection. Morehead’s granddaughter, Sophie, heard the screeching of the brakes and the thud from the collision.

“Sometimes the cars come a little close to the kids,” Nina said.

Eileen Forawley, another grandparent who was picking up her grandchild at the school last week, said a crossing guard at the intersection would help, but she would also wants a stop sign.

“It’s all about children’s safety, that’s first and foremost,” she said. “It’s a no-brainer.”

Forawley added that everyone is on their mobile devices today, not paying attention to the road. She said she has seen many cars blow by the intersection.

“Anything that slows down drivers is a good thing,” she said. “Stop and think, we have children crossing.”

A DOT spokesperson said in a statement that the agency studied the location in 2018.

“It has been approved for an all-way stop,” the spokesperson said.
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