In Gloversville neighborhood, traffic worries residents

GLOVERSVILLE – People who live in the neighborhood where a boy was struck and killed by a vehicle Monday say they are concerned about speeding traffic there.

“Prior to the accident, about a month ago, my dog passed away from [being hit by] a car speeding down the hill. I made several reports to the Police Department about [having the city] put up a sign [indicating] children at play or to reduce speed but that never happened,” Joseph Blaney said.

Joseph Blaney is the uncle of the 9-year-old boy, Johnathan Blaney, who died after being hit by a pickup truck Monday on East Pine Street near the intersection with Bloomingdale Avenue.

Police Chief Donald VanDeusen said Thursday he was unaware of any complaints to the department about traffic on East Pine Street and Bloomingdale Avenue.

Blaney said he plans to attend the Common Council meeting Tuesday to talk about the issue and ask for measures before another tragedy occurs.

“The school is right there and they have no signs coming down the hill to let drivers know about the kids,” Blaney said, referring to Park Terrace Elementary School on Bloomingdale Avenue.

The accident occurred after driver Brian Wilson was stopped at a stop sign on Bloomingdale Avenue and turned left onto East Pine Street. The vehicle struck the boy, who was riding a bicycle.

No charges have been filed against Wilson.

Wilson was at a complete stop at the intersection and drove fewer than 15 feet before hitting the boy, VanDeusen said. Wilson then stopped after realizing what happened, the chief said.

VanDeusen said Wilson was neither speeding nor impaired.

However, neighbors say speed is an issue for many cars coming down Bloomingdale Avenue – a large hill – toward East Pine Street.

Several residents said houses on the road, where it bends before the stop sign at the intersection with East Pine Street, have been struck by vehicles going too fast.

Donna Horning, a resident of 75 E. Pine St., which is directly in front of the intersection with Bloomingdale Avenue, said she has serious concerns about the intersection in front of her home.

“This area is wicked,” Horning said. “It sounds a little crazy, but honestly, I would rather have my kids play on Main Street than play in this area. Cars pay no attention to the kids that are constantly in and out of the road right here.”

Another resident of the neighborhood shared the same concerns.

“This street is terrible,” said Jean Besio. “It is not only cars. Kids will come flying down this hill in just about anything with wheels. Most of them aren’t even wearing a helmet, either.”

However, speed isn’t the residents’ only concern.

“Cars are always parking on the sidewalk or blocking them, and kids can’t even walk down them, so they have to go into the road,” said Lorraine Mischen, a resident of 14 Bloomingdale Ave. “I don’t know how many times kids have been almost hit right here. They need to enforce the parking laws along with the speed [limit] in this area.”

VanDeusen said police have received several complaints about sidewalks being blocked throughout the city, forcing pedestrians to walk in the road. The department is issuing tickets when vehicles block the sidewalk, he said.

He also said the department may partner with a community organization to raise awareness about bicycle safety.

“It really is such a tragedy what happened, but the city just needs to make something good and positive out of it,” Horning said.