Parents slam city for ignoring serious traffic problems at S’Park gas station

Death trap: Mom Arsenia Reilly called the Speedway gas station at Fourth Avenue between 30th and 31st streets a “death trap” for locals and children — including her son, Declan Reilly-Collins — due to its lack of pavement markings, sidewalk barriers, and signage designating the elementary school that’s only a block away.
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It’s an accident waiting to happen.

A Fourth Avenue gas station near a Sunset Park elementary school is a “death trap,” according to local parents, who blasted the city for not doing enough about it.

Cars speed into the Speedway gas station between 30th and 31st streets, often illegally driving on the sidewalk to reach the pumps, and parents and kids en route to PS 172 one block away often have to dodge the careless drivers with their kids in tow, one mom said.

“Cars reversing and driving on the sidewalk, cars not paying attention — it’s pervasive,” said Arsenia Reilly, who lives on 31st Street just a few doors down from the station. “Unless someone’s cognizant of what’s happening and able to dodge cars, there could be a serious accident where a kid could get hurt or killed.”

Reilly said she has tried to raise the alarm with the authorities, but complains that nobody will take responsibility.

“The city is always punting to someone else,” she said.

The main problem, according to Reilly, is that there are no bollards, barriers, or pavement markings designating where the station’s lot ends and the sidewalk begins, making it all too easy for drivers to encroach on passing pedestrians.

The gas station has been a danger since it opened about a decade ago, according to PS 172’s principal, who added that he receives complaints from parents “continuous­ly.”

“It has been really a risky sidewalk in particular for pedestrians when they arrive and depart from school,” said Jack Spatola, the 34-year principal of the school, which teaches 593 students from pre-K to fifth grade. “It’s extremely dangerous.”

City records show there was a collision at Fourth Avenue and 31st Street as recently as last month. But Reilly said she doesn’t blame the drivers — instead, she blames the city for not doing enough to protect its youngest inhabitants, even though she and other parents have raised the issue with Councilman Carlos Menchaca (D–Sunset Park), the Department of Transportation, the Department of Education, the local community board, and the Police Department over the past few weeks.

“I honestly don’t blame the drivers. There’s no marking showing that it’s a sidewalk,” she said. “I’m so offended by the way [the city] is punting it off. I just can’t believe that they could look at themselves in the mirror — they should be losing sleep over this. This is a moral issue.”

But officials insist the authorities are working to fix the problem. Menchaca said in a statement that he has visited the site and met with the Police Department, the Department of Transportation, school administrators, and the owner of the gas station to set up safety controls, which the transportation agency and Spatola confirmed.

Transportation-agency reps are also reaching out to concerned locals and the owners of the gas station to coordinate a site visit, a spokesman said, adding that it is also in touch with the office of Assemblyman Felix Ortiz, who recently visited the school and offered to arrange a meeting with parents, according to Spatola.

The Police Department added additional sidewalk barriers on Jan. 22, according to a spokesman, and is also “continuing to work with school officials and management at the gas station to find a permanent solution.”

But temporary fixes are not enough when children’s lives are at risk, according to one parent, who said a car ran over one of the two plastic barriers that police installed the very same day officers put it there.

“I think that the city is on it, whether they will continue to be on it or just drop it, I don’t know,” said Isabel Draves, a mother of three who lives on 32nd Street. “I’ve worried so many times that somebody’s child will die.”

Spatola said that in addition to installing bollards that protect the sidewalk, the city should also add “school zone” signs in a two-block radius around the learning house, extend the crossing guard’s hours from 3:30 to 6:30 pm to accommodate students in the after-school programs, and add a second crossing guard on 31st Street. He also said that Speedway should fund some of the measures. And parents who spoke to the station’s management said its honchos are ready and willing to help.

But the manager of the station referred questions to Speedway’s corporate office, which did not respond to a request for comment by press time.

Spatola said that the real heroes of this near calamity are the parents who have pushed for action.

“The parents have really led this,” the principal said. “The parents — particularly active parents — motivate every one of us, including myself, to do a little more.”

Reach reporter Julianne McShane at (718) 260–2523 or by e-mail at Follow her on Twitter @juliannemcshane.
Updated 5:49 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Alan from Crown Heights says:
This is why I rejoice when gas stations get torn down to build apartment buildings— gas stations are a blight on our neighborhood streets.

Hopefully the same happens to this one soon.
Feb. 2, 2018, 2:14 pm
ty from pps says:
they need to turn it into a bike rental station.
Feb. 2, 2018, 4:56 pm
AMH from Harlem says:
As someone who used to have a gas station right by my subway station (and there's still one around the corner from me) I agree. Gas stations (and the suburban self-service design in particular) are awful for a residential area, and do not belong near schools!
Feb. 2, 2018, 4:59 pm
Courtney from Sunset Park says:
It’s not dangerous if the parents did their job and watched their children. These lazy mamacitas expect the city to do everything for them. They fon’t work, we have to pay their welfare, they don’t watch their kids, they think the city has to do all the work. If you don’t like it, take a different way home! Just cross the fuggin street. But no, it’s because they don’t walk their kids. They expect them walk themselves at 5 years old!
Feb. 3, 2018, 6:57 am
Henry Ford from Bay Ridge says:
Don’t like gas stations? Then don’t live on a truck route.
Feb. 3, 2018, 10:02 am
JP from LES says:
Note how the NYPD will "crack down on cyclists" in response to an innocent cyclist being killed by a reckless driver, as illogical as that is, but apparently they don't have the resources to crack down upon a widely reported problem of reckless drivers in a specific location even when the lives of children are at risk. Windshield bias anyone?

Of course this painful level of ignorance is perpetuated and supported by idiots like Courtney from Sunset Park, who apparently sees nothing wrong with drivers using a sidewalk as the road and thinks that any kids in the way deserve everything that comes to them. I have no doubt whatsoever that Courtney is one of these drivers, and that she should probably be relieved of her license ASAP and banned from getting behind the wheel in perpetuity. Henry Ford from Bay Ridge is another of these ignoramuses. Thankfully they're a dying breed.
Feb. 3, 2018, 2:03 pm
Henry Ford from Bay Ridge says:
JP is another perfect example of liberalism being a mental disease. Thinks the voices in his head are some kind of movement and spews his delusions online, thinking he speaks for many. Sad!
Feb. 3, 2018, 3:38 pm
Fdank from Furter says:
What's bunch of xenophobic drivel. They are more likely to be from the precinct a couple of blocks away.
Feb. 4, 2018, 12:48 pm
JP from LES says:
Note how anyone can make a comment under any name on this site. Thus the last 3 comments by "JP" above aren't mine, just someone pretending to be me. That being said, if Henry Ford from Bay Ridge seriously thinks that putting the lives of children above the convenience of drivers is "liberalism" then what can I say, his words speak for themselves.
Feb. 5, 2018, 11:17 am
Henry Ford from Bay Ridge says:
Awww, another sad snowflake. I have better things to do than to respond to every snowman thrown out by hysterical bike activists. Sure, drivers are running amok on sidewalks. Please with this nonsense. This article is a clickbait nothingburger. Interview a few hysterical loons that hate cars, and gas stations apparently, and post their nonsense. Too bad for all the pathetic flat earth society members that cars, gas stations and Trump aren’t going away. You should all come to terms with that, or move to Europe.
Feb. 5, 2018, 1:32 pm
Jason from Bensonhurst says:
Why not just have more electric cars?
Feb. 5, 2018, 1:58 pm
Jo Bloe from Bensonhurst says:
If it so dangerous to walk the little tikes to school in front of the gas station ( that service MOVING VEHICLES ) then why continue to put the little ones at risk and cross the street !!
Feb. 5, 2018, 2:10 pm
Henry Ford from Bay Ridge says:
I don’t have to tell anyone to go back to where you came from, ICE will make sure you all get back to where you belong.
Feb. 5, 2018, 7:19 pm
Daniel from Flatbush says:
NYC hasn't met minimum air quality standards since they have existed. A $100 per ton of vehicle per day fee for bringing gasoline or diesel powered vehicle into the city would go a long way toward making the air safe to breathe. There should be absolutely no need for a gas station in a built up area like this.
Feb. 5, 2018, 7:44 pm
Tyson White from UWS says:
Why don't they just let the property owner develop the lot into housing? Gas powered cars are going extinct anyway.
Feb. 6, 2018, 9:09 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
First of all, I'm not a Trump voter, and I will continue to say how much I voted for Hillary in the last election every time he does something wrong. I don't see what is the problem about vehicles entering and exiting this gas station. I know I will get grilled and some will wish for my death on this, but I feel that sometimes the children themselves are the problems for not looking as well as their parents not being there with them, and I don't consider this victim blaming. If anything, I feel that parents are scapegoating others for not taking their own responsibilities into account. Unfortunately, motorists are going to need to fill up somewhere when they need gas, and being in a dense area will make them having openings in the sidewalks.
Feb. 10, 2018, 5:35 pm

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