Dutch Kills intersection finally gets stop sign

Dutch Kills residents have fought for more than a decade to make the intersection of 29th Street and 39th Avenue safer.

Last Friday, the Department of Transportation (DOT) finally fulfilled the community’s wish by installing an all-way stop sign.

“We actually hit that sweet spot,” said Queens DOT Commissioner Nicole Garcia. “We saw the pedestrian volumes, we saw the vehicular volumes and we had our engineers out here.”
DOT previously installed an enhanced crosswalk, along with pedestrian signage and pedestrian ramps, back in 2018. Two years before that, the agency installed a bike corral at the intersection to slow left-turning vehicles.

But Garcia said the agency came back to study the intersection, which has seen at least 12 injuries since 2009, due to the community outpouring for more traffic calming.

“We want to bring it down to the local level and humanize the experience,” she said. “Make sure there’s an engineering decision, but also that local intelligence.”

State Senator Michael Gianaris said Dutch Kills is a growing area, and that the intersection has seen a number of accidents over the years.

After the bike corral was installed in 2016, which was opposed by both the Dutch Kills Civic Association and Community Board 1 because it took away two parking spots, two accidents occurred at that corner.

In both instances, speeding drivers crashed into other cars that did not stop at the intersection.

“The whole neighborhood is dealing with this problem,” Gianaris said, “so we hope to continue to focus on additional intersections in Dutch Kills.”

While Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer said irresponsible and reckless drivers persist, he believes the treatments will ultimately make the area safer.
“This seems like a small victory, but if it saves one life or one serious injury, it’s not so small at all,” he said.

Despite being united on the need for the stop sign, residents disagreed on the effectiveness of the bike corral at the intersection.

George Stamatiades, executive director of the Dutch Kills Civic Association, said he wants the DOT to give back the parking spot.

“We certainly want bicycle racks, but they have to be on the sidewalk,” he said. “They can’t impede automobiles.”

Dominic Stiller, who owns Dutch Kills Centraal and supports the bike corral in front of his business, said businesses on 39th Avenue actually want more bicycle parking and loading zones, which he admits would affect parking.

“It lets trucks pull in, load and unload,” he said. “It will really help street safety and quality of life for every citizen in this neighborhood, not just the car-owning citizen.”

Stiller also asked the DOT to consider curb extensions and more two or four-way stop signs on 30th Street.

“Our cameras have found as many accidents on that corner as we’ve had on this corner,” he said.

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