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Can’t see the light

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Parents at PS 277 on Gerritsen Avenue are angry that the city has yet to install a much-needed traffic light in front of the school — even though the Department of Transportation approved the safety measure five months ago.

“It’s a shame that it’s taking so long,” said PS 277 Parents Association president Margaret Foti. “One of our parents or children could be hit by a car.”

The PS 277 community has been calling for traffic-calming measures at the busy intersection of Gerritsen Avenue and Channel Avenue for years, parents say. The cross streets lead to one of PS 277’s entrances and dozens of youngsters cross there every morning, says Kathy Ene, another PS 277 parent. But motorists are notorious for speeding down Gerritsen Avenue, which only has two traffic lights.

“Drivers don’t even slow down when a crossing guard is there,” said Ene, who has two 8-year-olds attending PS 277. “It’s a big mess and a big nightmare.”

Community outcry prompted the Department of Transportation study the intersection in 2005, and the agency determined a flashing yellow light was necessary last August.

The light hasn’t been installed even though traffic signals are supposed to be put up within 90 days of their approval.

The city claims a “contracting issue” caused it to miss the three-month deadline, according to a spokesman for state Sen. Marty Golden (R-Bay Ridge), who pushed for the initial traffic study.

“Our office calls them every day and right now they are telling us the light will be installed in a few weeks,” said Golden’s spokesman, John Quaglione.

But “a few weeks” isn’t good enough for PS 277 parents, who are fed up with waiting for safety and had wanted the light, which costs the city $90,000 to install, put up by the beginning of the 2010-11 school year.

“Why can’t this light just go up already?” Ene exclaimed.

There have been eight traffic accidents at the intersection of Gerritsen and Channel avenues since 2005, according to NYPD statistics.

Reached by us late Tuesday night, the Department of Transportation said it is still preparing the design for the traffic light, and will award the contract soon.

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