Gravesend intersection: Death trap waiting to happen?

May 5, 2011 Denise Romano
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The intersectionof Harway and Stillwell Avenues – –adjacent to John Dewey High School — is a deathtrap, residents say, because barricades put up for constructionunder the elevated train are blocking drivers’ view of trafficlights.

“This is adangerous situation,” said Louis Stuto, a Bensonhurst motorist.“What do we have to do to get someone to do something? Does someonehave to get killed?”

The barricadesaround the beams of the el were put there as part of a multi-yearrevitalization project for the West End Line. MTA officials say theauthority is not responsible for the project, since it is fundedwith federal stimulus money and a private contractor is doing thework. However, signage at the project site gives onlythe phone number of the MTA; no contractor was identified onit.

When drivers aregoing south on Stillwell Avenue, it is not only hard to see thetraffic light, but drivers on Harway Avenue, making a short rightonto Stillwell, can barely see their traffic light at all. TheBrooklyn Spectator watched several motorists blow throughthe red light on Harway Avenue, completely unaware that it wasthere.

Students at JohnDewey High School also expressed concern about crossing thatintersection. “Drivers can’t see the light, It’s very scarycrossing sometimes,” said Keanna Smith, 18, a senior at theschool.

Kathy Benitez,also 18 and a senior, agreed. “I don’t know how fast the cars aregoing to come. I worry about crossing that street sometimes,” shesaid.

Not only do thesebarricades create problems at that intersection, but because theyare placed right in the middle of Stillwell Avenue in sectionsstretching all the way down to 86th Street, they makewhat used to be a two way street into a one way thoroughfare,confusing drivers even more.

Linda Dalton wasdriving south on Avenue W, which is now one lane due to theconstruction, when another driver nearly hit her head on. “The guywas coming the wrong way and looked at me like I was crazy,” sheexplained. “There is no signage. If you are not familiar with thearea, you don’t know where to go. It is a total disaster waiting tohappen.”

Stuto added,“Earlier this year, a car flipped over near 19th Avenueand 86th Street due to this same issue. It’s absolutelyridiculous and something just needs to get done,” he said.

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