They are calling for the Department of Transportation to implement a Neighborhood Slow Zone, the community-based program that reduces the speed limit from 30 mph to 20 mph.
“About two years after I moved in, I was walking my dog on Alderton when a car racing to beat the light at 63rd Drive did not stop and ended up hitting my dog,” said Jay Pena, who has lived on Alderton for 12 years. “My dog was killed.”
Residents Yvonne Shortt, who runs the Rego Park Green Alliance, and Elby Schneidman teamed up with Pena to form the Alderton Committee in early December to tackle the problem.
They have been circulating petitions the last two weeks, and so far the group has received over 150 signatures.
“We've seen a lot of accidents avoided,” Pena said. “This issue has been going on since I've lived here.”
Pena says he petitioned 10 years ago for a speed bump, but it was declined. When the city created the Slow Zone program, the committee decided to apply.
Essentially, the group would like to see a Slow Zone enacted on Alderton Street from 63rd Drive to Woodhaven Boulevard and north of the LIRR tracks back to Woodhaven Boulevard again.
“I walk those streets four times a day and I have seen cars flying through there, not stopping to get to Woodhaven Boulevard,” Schneidman said. “We are residents and we are openly affected by this, we have children and elderly people. We have two schools at either end with kids going constantly through there in the morning and afternoon.”
She says her dog almost got run over. “We shouldn't have to suffer,” she recently told members of Community Board 6 at a meeting.
Shortt, who has lived in the neighborhood for seven years, recounted what could have been a fatal accident because of the high speeding on the street.
“I was walking home with my daughter in December and we saw another little girl who just missed getting hit by two SUVs traveling on Alderton in opposite directions,” she said. “Because the street is so narrow one of them had to stop.”
CB6 chair Joseph Hennessy told residents that he understand they are very concerned about the issue.
“We've discussed it with DOT,” he said. “They told the board to send a request for a Slow Zone. At this time, the board cannot take any action other than that.”
The committee has gained a lot of support from local businesses, as well as Councilwoman Karen Koslowitz. The committee plans to meet with Koslowitz this week to discuss the issue.
According to the DOT, Neighborhood Slow Zones are established in small, self-contained areas that consist primarily of local streets. Signs and gateways announce the presence of a Slow Zone. The zone itself is a self-enforcing, reduced-speed area with speed bumps, curb extensions, special markings and other traffic calming treatments.