Courier Life’s

Canarsie Parking Lot Becomes Ad Hoc Thoroughfare

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Speeding cars continue to be a problem in the southernmost portion of Canarsie.

At the October meeting of the United Canarsie South Civic Association (UCSCA), which was held at the Hebrew Educational Society, 9502 Seaview Avenue, resident Charlie Zambrana -- the organization’s quality-of-life guru -- complained about reckless drivers in the vicinity of Rockaway Parkway and Schenck Street.

Indeed, said Zambrana, in order to avoid a red light, motorists driving through the area regularly take a short cut through the parking lot of the condominium development at the corner.

“At first, on occasion, when the light was red, you’d see a car slow up and cut through the parking lot,” Zambrana noted. “Now, it’s become so commonplace, you see just about everything except a tractor trailer come screaming from Canarsie Road. They see the red light, slam on the brakes and drive through the parking area to get to Rockaway Parkway.”

The area is a nexus of traffic problems, acknowledged Captain Milt Marmara, the commanding officer of the 69th Precinct.

“That whole strip is always a problem for us with regard to accidents,” he told Zambrana. “So we always do a lot of enforcement there.”

“These aren’t accidents,” Zambrana rejoined. “These are speeders.”

“Those are potential accidents,” Marmara replied. “That’s where a lot of our accidents happen, absolutely.”

For that reason, besides enforcement, the precinct also does checkpoints in the area, he said.

“They do a lot of DWI enforcement there also,” Marmara said.

Residents in the area have long complained about speeding vehicles, as well as about drivers who use their quiet neighborhood as a short cut to the Belt Parkway. Many of the complaints have centered on the Five Corners, where Canarsie Road, St. Jude Place, East 95th Street and Skidmore Avenue converge, and where, last January, an eight-year-old boy was killed by a hit-and-run driver.

However, efforts by residents to get the city to re-engineer the intersection have so far been unsuccessful. On more than one occasion, they have requested a traffic signal there. In addition, they have requested that the direction of East 95th Street be changed to prevent drivers from using it as a shortcut to the highway. But, the city’s Department of Transportation denied this request and also the request for a traffic signal at the end of the block.

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