Alec MacFarlen, a seven-year-old from Rosedale, was crossing the street near his little league field when he was hit by a speeding car on Monday, April 22.
Although McFarlen survived, locals have had enough.
The community has requested a traffic advisory on 147th Avenue between Brookville Boulevard and 232nd Street for years. But community members claim the Department of Transportation (DOT) never followed up.
Rosedale Little League President Bernie Brown said she and other parents have petitioned DOT since 2006 to put “any sort of traffic advisory” on the stretch of road that she calls dangerous.
“These cars will not let people cross the street,” Brown said. “There are parks on both sides of the street. This is an area filled with children.”
Brown said that when she got the call that McFarlen had been hit, she ran to the spot of the accident. She said the little leaguer had blood coming from his forehead and dripping down his face. Brown added that the youngster had to get four stitches on his head and still has scrapes on his face as well as a bruised ribcage.
“Even as an adult, you can’t cross the street,” said Councilmember Donovan Richards. “It’s nearly impossible.”
Still, there were no fatalities in the area or any surrounding intersection from 2007 to 2011, the most recent years for which data are available. One pedestrian injury was reported at Brookville Boulevard and 147th Avenue in 2010.
Richards and Brown said DOT representatives have been to the area to survey the traffic, but that they come during off-hours. According to Brown, during baseball season the intersection is at its busiest Monday through Friday from 5:30 to 7:00 p.m.
A DOT spokesperson said representatives have been in touch with Richards and the little league about their concerns. The agency plans to re-examine the area to see if there are additional ways to enhance safety for everyone using the street.
The DOT studied the location for a traffic-control device and speed bump in 2009 and 2012, respectively, but the location did not meet the guidelines for installation, according to the spokesperson.
While DOT abides by federal rules, Richards suggested the city “reign in control” of the transportation organization as a possible solution.
“They’re going by federal regulations and we don’t have the pull we need to have them do better,” Richards said. “It’s really disturbing.”
Along with writing letters to DOT, Brown and parents have recently started to file complaints with 3-1-1 about the dearth of traffic devices.
“Set up a blinking yellow light, set up a ‘Children At Play’ sign,” she said. “We’re trying to do a sports program that will keep children off the streets and help mentor them. These kids need an outlet to get rid of some of their stress.”
“Thank god that this little boy—seven years old—has a strong body,” she continued. “He probably will heal, but this will be something he’ll remember for the rest of his life.”
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