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CAP Leads Charge For Installation of New Traffic Lights

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A dash across a dangerous intersection in August 2004 left a 75-year-old East Flatbush resident with broken bones in both feet — not because she was hit by a car but because she fell trying to avoid one. “I was trying to hurry to get across the street, and I fell,” said Harriet McIntosh, who was on her way to St. Catherine’s Church when she lost her balance at Troy Avenue and Winthrop Street. “The traffic gets very busy in the morning there, and you have to pick a time when to cross.” Eighteen months later, McIntosh still has to walk with a cane because she has pain in her right foot. She was given a soft cast but was unable to walk for two and a half months because of the pain. Her 78-year-old husband could not help her because he recently had quadruple bypass surgery. “I had to crawl on my buttocks to go to the bathroom,” McIntosh said. And now she is taking part in a campaign to get the Department of Transportation to install a light at the corner — and other intersections in the area that are dangerous for pedestrians. McIntosh turned to the Community Action Project (CAP), because she found that authorities did not take her problem seriously. “I couldn’t get anybody to listen,” said the former nurse. The intersections are treacherous for pedestrians because without lights, stop signs or speed bumps, traffic plows through without slowing. “We want to have this situation rectified to ameliorate the lives of our seniors and others who are affected,” Jessica Dias, executive director of the Community Action Project wrote in a letter to DOT Commissioner Iris Weinshall. McIntosh’s church, St. Catherine of Genoa, 870 Albany Ave., has been joined by another CAP member, St. Gabriel’s Episcopal, 337 Hawthorne St. The congregation at St. Gabriel’s Episcopal has difficulty crossing at another intersection, at Hawthorne Street and New York Avenue, members said. George Pindar, an 88-year-old motorized wheelchair user, has to cross Hawthorne Street on his daily trip from his home on New York Avenue to the St. Gabriel Episcopal senior center. “It is very difficult for us to cross,” said Pindar, adding that other members who are able to walk have the same problem. “If there was something there telling them to stop, they would stop.” Judith Villaroel, director of the senior center, said there have been a number of accidents at the corner, and many go to the next intersection to cross safely. “One of goals is to get the DOT to come to come and hear our testimonies,” said Dias. “We want them to come and show they care about the community.” The intersection at Winthrop Street and Troy Avenue does not meet the requirements for a traffic signal, according to a Department of Transportation statement. The DOT expects the results of a study of Hawthorne Street and New York Avenue in early March, a statement said. CAP is a faith-based organization, which helps local citizens with civic problems such as schools, crime filled parks and unsafe traffic, by providing leadership training and activism. “We want ordinary citizens to have access to the DOT because it is our tax dollars that pay for these officials,” said Dias. The Community Action Project and the churches will be holding a forum March 16 at 6 p.m. at St. Gabriel’s Episcopal, 337 Hawthorne St. to discuss the problem. For more information, call (718) 287-4334.

Posted 7:15 pm, October 10, 2011
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