Drag racing worries residents in Queens

November 22, 2010 3:12:20 PM PST
Residents of Maurice Avenue in Queens say they fear for their safety.

Cars are regularly racing down the street in the Woodside and Maspeth sections, neighbors say, and they are sometimes doing 100 miles per hour trying to beat each other from one light to other.

Residents worry the drivers, the spectators or the people who live here will lose their life if something doesn't get done soon

Neighbors say the street goes from a quiet residential and industrial neighborhood to what looks like a scene from the movie 2 Fast, 2 furious when the sun goes down.

The teens who come here for drag racing apparently don't realize real life has real consequences.

"I don't want to see any of these kids get hurt," Steve Cawley said.

Neighbors say a video shows just a glimpse of what goes on here on Friday and Saturday nights.

Maurice Avenue is flat, straight and newly paved. There are no stop signs or stop lights for nearly a mile, making it the perfect spot for drag racing.

"They have spotters looking out for police. They have communication signs. They know how to trick the cops," resident Armand Czapkowski said.

"There are hundreds of people out here. Cars parked in the driveways. It's kind of scary. They're running rampant," Cawley said.

So with the help of council members Jimmy van Bramer and Elizabeth Crowly, residents in both Woodside and Maspeth are urging the department of transportation to put in speed humps, speed grooves, traffic lights and speed cameras.

They're passing around petitions hoping something gets done before someone is hurt or killed.

"It can kill. It's dangerous for the drag racer, the spectators and the people who live here. We're here to say no more," van Bramer said.

A Department of Transportation official told me over the phone that speed humps and other devices depend on many different factors like the width of the street, accessibility to buses and the number of driveways.

That official asked me if residents were prepared to push the problem to another street.

Residents say they're simply trying to prevent a tragedy.