Community concerned over newly opened skate park


| lguerre@queenscourier.com |

THE COURIER/File Photos
THE COURIER/File Photos

London Planetree Skate Park has successfully attracted dozens of skaters daily since it opened about a month ago, increasing residents’ safety concerns.

Concerns about London Planetree Skate Park have been rolling since the facility opened a month go.

At a recent Woodhaven Residents’ Block Association (WRBA) meeting, neighbors shared their worries about safety in the park, which attracts droves of local skaters.

Some attendees asked for improved lighting on the outside of the park, located on Atlantic Avenue. Others suggested there a crosswalk should be installed to make it easier for young skaters to cross the street.

Presently, a long median splits traffic on the avenue, but there are no traffic lights to stop vehicles. Residents also say the median island is high, making it difficult for small children and disabled people to cross.

“There were very few isolated reported incidents, but there is no cause for alarm,” said Councilmember Eric Ulrich, who praised the park for its safety and popularity.

Ulrich said cutting the median for a crosswalk would be difficult because the median sits on top of a LIRR tunnel and utilities. But as for the suggested lighting the councilmember has already contacted the Department of Transportation (DOT) to inquire about adding more lights around the park.

That came as welcome news to Woodhaven resident Janet Forte, who said she recently saw a car almost hit two skaters on Atlantic Avenue. Forte believes it was difficult to see the skateboarders because of low visibility at night and because they were not wearing any reflective equipment.

“There are a lot of adults and teenagers going there,” Forte said. “I think we need to be proactive and not reactive. I don’t want to see anyone killed.”

“It’s a beautiful skate park” said Alex Blenkinsopp, communications director of the WRBA. “We are confident that these won’t be persistent problems.”

 

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