No More Parking Peekaboo

To the Editor:

Thank you for your previous coverage of our efforts to make Skillman Avenue safer for pedestrians, particularly children, the elderly and the disabled.

The letter by Al Volpe that you printed on November 28 contained numerous inaccuracies.  Here are some corrections for the benefit of your readers:

  • We are asking for two or three parking spaces to be converted to sidewalk at three intersections on Skillman Avenue: 51st Street, 52nd Street and 55th Street.  That is a maximum of nine for the entire residential/commercial stretch of Skillman.  No more than that.
  • We are asking to reduce the width of the travel lanes by one of these three strategies: a bike lane, wider sidewalks or angle parking.  We are not asking to remove any travel lanes from Skillman Avenue.
  • At the corner of 52nd and Skillman, between 1995 and 2005 there were six (6) crashes resulting in pedestrian injury.
  • At the same corner there was another crash in May when a young girl was hit by a driver who failed to stop at the stop sign.  Fortunately the girl was not seriously injured.

All of this information has been printed in the Heraldand on our website at  We have also tried to correct Al’s misapprehensions in person several times.  We hope that your other readers will take these facts into account.

We are pleased that Al has taken some time from his other activities to make constructive suggestions.  We  agree that a speed bump near the intersection would greatly improve safety in the crosswalk.  We would further suggest that the speed bump be placed in the crosswalk, creating a raised crosswalk.  This type of improvement has been saving lives around the world for years, and it would be an excellent complement to the visibility improvement that we have requested.

On September 19th, we collected over 200 signatures from neighborhood residents, including 30 from residents of the Berkeley Towers, in support of converting the parking spaces to sidewalk.  Old and young, drivers and non-drivers, agreed that the intersection would be safer without cars parked there.  We hope that Herald readers will join us in our efforts.

2 comments on “No More Parking Peekaboo

  • I am a lifelong resident of Woodside and my hat is off to this organization for working to keep our streets safe. I have driven in this neighborhood since 1955 and I can tell you that things are not as they used to be. Pedestrians are as much of a problem as drivers are. People do not use crosswalks, they are in their own world listening to their Ipods and many cross in the middle of the road, blatantly in front of incoming traffic. Driving in Woodside is just as dangerous for drivers as pedestrians. If a kid runs in front of my car — it’s ME that is in trouble, not the Mother who perhaps wasnt watching her child as she should have been. Bikers are another problem, as many dodge in and out of traffic, taking risks with their lives and the lives of others.

    Driver education is also key to solving this problem. Many drivers are not natives and are oblivious to our street signs and rules of the road.

    This is a complex problem that requires a complex answer and its not just in dealing with the “drivers!”

    Good luck with your mission.

    Harry & Cynthia

  • Thanks for your comment, Harry and Cynthia. Let me repost one of our principles:

    Results, not moralizing: Thousands of people travel along and across Skillman Avenue every day. Some of them are going to be jerks, whether they are traveling by car, motorcycle, pocket bike, moped, bicycle, scooter, roller skate or motorized wheelchair, or on foot. We have very little power to stop anyone from being a jerk. All we can do is make them safer jerks.

    Objectively, pedestrians are simply not “as much of a problem” as drivers. The choice to travel with two or three tons of metal comes with responsibility. That’s why we have licenses for driving but not for walking.

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