The Civic Scene: Behavior changes vital to keeping streets safe

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Two fine young ladies were just killed on Queens Boulevard. Their deaths had nothing to do with things they did. They crossed part way and were waiting on the median when a Subaru Forester ran a red light, according to police, and hit a BMW SUV that flipped into the air, turned over and landed on the two young women.

Queens Boulevard has been made safer over the years, but people still are not cautious enough. The 63-year-old man driving the Subaru that ran the red light confirmed he had a medical condition which causes him to black out.

I know a neighborhood young man who had seizures and was denied a driver’s license. Why was this man driving if he had seizures? Did he feel he had to drive, against the doctor’s orders? What is the state law about the condition he has in regard to operating a motor vehicle?

I again comment on the dangers of SUVs. The one that was hit broadside flipped into the air and turned over. Is someone keeping the statistics on the accidents in which SUVs are involved? They are unstable and turn over easily. Some of the newer SUVs are lower and wider, which makes them less prone to turning over. And some have tinted windows, which block the view of other drivers and pedestrians. What is being done about them?

I don’t follow each death on Queens Boulevard, but I remember a couple. A few years ago a teenager died because he or she was fooling around with friends. The youths were running after each other and one youngster ran into traffic. And an elderly Chinese gentleman actually climbed over the railings installed along the boulevard and was hit by a car in the middle of the roadway. I don’t know if he could read the signs, which forbid crossing in the middle of the street. The behavior of these two people caused their own deaths.

The city has placed speed meters along Queens Boulevard and at other locations so drivers can see how fast they are traveling. Some drivers feel that they must go fast, especially when this wide street is not too crowed. On the other hand, while driving on our highways, Edna and I comment to each other when we see drivers weaving in and out around traffic.

Often these weaving drivers seem to be going 20 miles per hour above the posted speed limit. How can that bad human nature be stopped?

I believe there are 50 cameras in the city on the tops of poles which record when drivers go through a red light. A ticket is mailed to them. The city wants more but the state will not let them have more. Perhaps more will slow down drivers and prevent accidents and deaths.

Good news of the week

City council members announced that the $10 million cut in senior center services has been restored. As a way to save money, which was a necessity, there was a proposal to cut programs, classes, recreation activities and meals to senior citizens.

The city raised taxes as one way to maintain these services. I don’t like more taxes, but services must be paid for somehow. Now if only the federal government would figure out a way to provide services and not put us more into debt.

Bad news of the week

A neighbor brought me a note with the location of two dead birds on the street. He had called 311 and obtained a number I should call. It was Sunday and the service was closed. Edna finally called on Tuesday and we tried four different numbers, some several times.

The main dead-bird number was just a computer update on what the city is doing to prevent the West Nile virus. Eventually she reached a person who tried to give her the same number again. To prevent Edna from getting too angry, the woman’s supervisor told the operator to take the locations. The city better get its act together if it wants the cooperation of the public, or they will just turn us off.

On our average streets in our residential neighborhoods I find people doing dangerous things in their vehicles. Some speed through stop signs, often cutting right in front of us. If we blow our horn after one of these incidents has occurred, the other drivers sometimes wave their hands in anger at our interruption of their dangerous activities.

People also have to get through the red light even if it is fully red. Some people insist in backing down a street instead of going around the block, even if they go two-thirds down the block. A few will drive into a block the wrong way on purpose. I have seen livery drivers do this.

What really bothers me is when a driver has an accident and it is discovered that the driver had his or her license suspended several times or has many tickets for the same type of offense. Why does the system let them keep driving after all these incidents? How many violations should be necessary for someone to be put in jail or be made to wear an ankle bracelet?

Their cars should have a disabling switch, and a special squad of police should be created to check up on these dangerous people to make sure they aren’t driving. The cost of the police would be much cheaper than the pain and suffering and lawsuits by innocent people injured by these dangerous people.

Posted 7:24 pm, October 10, 2011
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