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Cop-out in Marine Park street chaos

No direction: Drivers had to navigate more than a dozen lanes jammed with other motorists when a traffic light malfunctioned on Flatbush Avenue and Avenue U on May 11 and no police came to direct traffic.
Brooklyn Daily
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A malfunctioning stoplight at the intersection of Flatbush Avenue and Avenue U snarled traffic at the junction the afternoon of May 11 — and police did not respond for hours, leaving drivers snarling as well.

“The frustrating part for me is when you call the precinct and they have no answer for you,” said Terri Cadet-Donald, who got caught in the mess around 2 pm.

She said officers from the 63rd Precinct told her they had received dozens of calls but were too busy to respond.

A community affairs officer from the precinct said tending to major crimes has to come first.

If the police weren’t there, it’s because there were greater emergencies, according to Officer Mike McGlynn.

But locals say the jam at the busy intersection was an emergency in its own right.

“It was chaos,” said Cathy Uszkowski of Mill Basin. “People were jumping the curb to get out of traffic.”

Eyewitnesses say the intersection got bogged down around 1 pm — about the same time a source with a police scanner began hearing calls go out about the condition. The source, who asked not to be named, said he stood at he intersection between 11:40 am and 3 pm and saw no police but witnessed several car accidents.

Cadet-Donald said she checked back at the intersection around 4 pm and still didn’t see any police.

The 63rd Precinct did not comment on whether police ever did respond to the numerous 911 and 311 calls about the malfunctioning light.

McGlynn said the intersection is not a known trouble spot, and Uszkowski said the last time she remembers the signal malfunctioning was more than a year ago.

But a light one block away at Flatbush Avenue and Avenue T has gone on the fritz twice in the last two months, Cadet-Donald said, prompting residents to ask whether there is an electrical malfunction along Flatbush Avenue.

A Department of Transportation spokeswoman said the agency will investigate the Avenue T signal, but did not provide details on how long the Avenue U light was malfunctioning on Saturday.

Reach reporter Max Jaeger at mjaeger@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-8303. Follow him on Twitter @MJaeger88.
Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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