Eyes on the Street: Queens Crossing Guards Improvise Street Safety Fixes

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At 82nd Street and 35th Avenue in Queens, a traffic cone helps keep drivers aware before crossing the path of students and parents. Photo: Clarence Eckerson

While Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz is out to tear up pedestrian refuges on a dangerous stretch of Fort Hamilton Parkway, over in Queens, local street safety experts are improvising their own traffic-calming measures. Streetfilms’ Clarence Eckerson took these pictures of crossing guards using cones as makeshift safety improvements outside two Jackson Heights schools.

The cones alert drivers and force them to take turns slower, functioning much like a neckdown or bulb-out at the street corner. The crossing guards break out the cones after school get dismissed, a tactic Clarence says he never saw until moving to Queens. He reports that the guards have their traffic-calming technique down to a science:

I’ve talked to two of the crossing guards. One told me, “We are not technically allowed to do it, but we do anyway because it really helps protect the kids and slow down the cars when they come down the street.”

I asked how she knows where to put it, and she said, “I’ve been doing this long enough to know how cars cut that corner really fast, without looking for kids. I look to see if there are any tire skid marks on the road or gravel and I always put the cone down outside any of those.”

Living on this block, it is amazing to see the difference this cone makes on turning speeds when it is out there for half an hour.

More pictures after the jump.

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Photo: Clarence Eckerson
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Photo: Clarence Eckerson
  • Felix

    I’ve done that on my block, but they eventually disappear.

  • Miriam

    Our cross guard does that too…in forest hills. It so much safer for the kids, but some drivers really give her a hard time.

  • Marcia Kramer’s Eyebrow

    There seems to be a Queens trend going on here.

  • kidsroutes

    They should contact DOT and request that this location be considered for the 20 mph school zone project. Coming from the crossing guards this really might be feasible. Problem is that many Queens drivers will fight these street changes even if it means safer streets for children. Crazy but true. These speed zones come with double the fines so that can be very motivating.

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