2005-10-07 / Editorial/Opinion

30 MPH, Maybe 40! Try It, It May Save Your Life

In the wake of the fatal accident that killed a woman on Cross Bay Boulevard last week, a Wave editor went onto our Website’s search engine and typed in “Cross Bay Boulevard accidents.” Thanks to the magic of the Internet, up popped 14 Wave citations detailing accidents from September of 1963 to last week. Seven people were killed in the accidents; 11 more were injured, some of them near-critically. The great majority of the accidents were in the uninhabited (except for birds) stretch from the North Channel Bridge to the beginning of Broad Channel. A number of them took place just as the road turned into the town and people realized that they had to slow down quickly. In any case, Cross Bay Boulevard has become the new “Boulevard of Death and Destruction.” Take a look at some of the incidents: September, 2003, a 16-year-old girl killed when the car she was riding in skidded into the bird sanctuary; June 2004, six teenagers drag racing on prom night overturned near 6 Road, leaving all six in local hospitals; June, 2005, a Samaritan pulls a motorist from a burning wreck, saving his life after his car lost control and crashed into a fire hydrant; July, 2005, three Brooklyn residents died and another was injured when their car, traveling at “excess speed,” crashed into a tree in the wildlife refuge. The next day, another crashed at exactly the same spot, injuring two; September, 2005, a woman driving drunk crashed into a car at Sixth Road and left the scene, chased by members of the Broad Channel Volies; September, 2005, a woman is killed when her husband, allegedly drunk and driving at excess speed, crashed into a tree nearby Sixth Road. So many accidents in so little time. Many of the accidents were tied to excess speed. Some were tied to alcohol consumption. Many to both. People see the long stretch of the boulevard with no lights and no homes, and they are tempted to push the peddle to the metal. Many of them wind up dead or injured. This is nothing new. Those who have been around for a while remember the drag racing scene from the Big Bow Wow to Broad Channel every weekend night. People died then as well. It has been suggested (by The Wave in a January 18, 2003 editorial) that the trees should be removed or pushed further back from the road. Perhaps more traffic lights are needed on that stretch of road. Perhaps some speed bumps would do the trick. Perhaps, an increased policing effort during evening hours. We will leave that up to the NYPD and the Department of Transportation – the experts — to figure out. What we do know is that things can’t continue as they have been with people killed, injured and maimed by the Boulevard of Death and Destruction.

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