Today’s news:

City to install traffic light at 28th Ave & Bell Blvd.

Community Board 11 District Manager...

By Kathianne Boniello

The city Department of Transportation was slated to install a traffic signal at 28th Avenue and Bell Boulevard in Bayside by the end of April after a number of motor vehicle accidents were reported at the location.

Community Board 11 District Manager Anne Marie Boranian said the agency confirmed that it would put up the 28th Avenue traffic signal in a November letter to the board. The city DOT did not return calls for comment as of press time Tuesday.

Civic leaders Frank Skala and Dr. Blanche Felton praised the coming traffic light and said it would help prevent accidents there in the future.

111th Precinct Community Affairs Officer Santo Elardo said a number of accidents have occurred at the site, including three in the last two months.

According to the 111th Precinct, there were about seven accidents at 28th Avenue and Bell Boulevard in 2000, two in 1999, one in 1998 and three in 1997.

One of those accidents took place in August 2000 when a church van carrying about eight children collided with a livery cab at the intersection. A stop sign on 28th Avenue at Bell Boulevard was knocked over during the accident, in which the children were cut and bruised and both drivers injured.

About three weeks after the van collision a young woman was seriously injured in a four-car accident at the same intersection. The stop sign knocked over in the van accident had not been immediately replaced, but it is now in place.

Skala, president of the East Bayside Homeowners Association, said his group has been requesting a traffic light at 28th Avenue and Bell Boulevard since the 1970s.

“We should have a traffic light at every intersection and counterset them so cars can’t speed,” Skala said of traffic on Bell Boulevard. “If it prevents accidents and prevents people from being killed, it’s worth the investment.”

Felton, president of the neighboring John Golden Park Block Association, said the traffic signal was “long overdue.”

“If this is the only control we have, fine — put it in,” Felton said.

Felton said her group has been lobbying for a traffic signal at 28th Avenue and Bell Boulevard since the mid-1990s, when the city DOT installed a traffic light at 29th Avenue and Bell Boulevard.

Reach reporter Kathianne Boniello by e-mail at Timesledgr@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 146.

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