Efforts to put more traffic lights on Oriental Boulevard appear much more likely this week following the tragic death of a Kingsborough Community College student on May 8.
A spokesperson for the Department of Transportation told the Bay News this week that a traffic study of Oriental Boulevard that could lead to the installation of new signals at Irwin Street and Ocean Avenue would be completed in July.
Youzdjan Bekir was killed exiting Kingsborough Community College at about 12:40 p.m. when the blue Yamaha motorcycle he was driving collided with an automobile at the intersection of Oriental Boulevard and Irwin Street.
Community Board 15 requested the new traffic study. Manhattan Beach residents have been fighting for a new traffic light on Oriental Boulevard for the last five years.
A flashing red traffic signal was installed at Ocean Avenue and Oriental Boulevard in 2005. At the time Mayor Mike Bloomerg – on hand to be the first to push the pedestrian activated light – told residents that “If it were up to [former DOT Commissioner] Iris [Weinshall] and me we would have put up a light a long time ago.”
Less than a month after the light was installed, two westbound vehicles collided on Oriental Boulevard and ended up smacking into a house on Dover Street.
Advocates say that the flashing red light at Ocean Avenue is insufficient and needs to be replaced with a fully functional signal.
The DOT uses an eight-point federal warrant system to help it determine if installation of a new traffic light is justified.
Community Board 15 Chair Theresa Scavo said that installing new traffic lights at Irwin Street and Ocean Avenue was the only “plausible solution” to the dangerous situation on Oriental Boulevard.
Three years ago an automobile struck and killed a Brighton Beach woman at Oriental Boulevard and Girard Street as she attempted to cross the street.
DOT officials say that the current Oriental Boulevard study is being conducted during “peak hours.”
“I sure hope they don’t do it on a Friday,” Scavo warned. “We need the study to goes from Monday to Thursday [when Kingsborough classes are in full swing].”
Bekir was killed on a Thursday.
The federal warrant system is based partly on traffic volume, the proximity to schools and the amount of “preventable accidents” the introduction of a new traffic signal is likely to avoid.