Demanding Answers: Trees Leave Road Signs Dangerously Obscured On Staten Island

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Traffic signs hidden behind trees on Staten Island have residents concerned for their safety.

CBS2’s Ali Bauman went looking for the buried signs in the Eltingville section of the borough, and was demanding answers Sunday night about what the city is doing about it.

Driving through parts of Staten Island often feels like a real-life Where’s Waldo book. But spotting hard-to-find stop signs is not a game, and the consequences are dangerous.

“A car landed once on the lawn from a car accident over here,” said Cheryl Lella.

“Since we’ve been here, I’ve seen four accidents on the corner because people are making turns when they’re not supposed to,” said Susan Kemler.

“It’s another accident just waiting to happen,” said John Chianchiao.

CBS2 counted six intersections where traffic signs are hidden behind overgrown branches, like on Wainwright Avenue near Petrus Avenue, by Memphis Avenue, and by Reading Avenue.

There is a hidden driveway on Arthur Kill Road, but you would never know it – because the warning is buried behind leaves. Residents said they do not see any upkeep from the city.

“They’re supposed to prune them every so often so the stop sign you can see,” said Vito Lella. “They haven’t done it in a while.

“Yeah, it’s only once in a blue,” Cheryl Lella added.

On Petrus and Richmond avenues, the branches are so overgrown that they have become entangled in overhead wires. One homeowner said she is so tired of waiting for the city to trim she stared cutting some of the branches herself.

“Three years in a row and I put in a complaint, and the complaint goes on and on and on,” Kemler said, “and then it just gets dismissed and the complaint disappears.”

Kemler is not alone. Her neighbor received a letter from the Department of Parks and Recreation six years ago — confirming the low-hanging limbs after she reported them and saying, “all tree work will be scheduled in order of priority.”

But six years later, she said: “We’re waiting for the trees to be trimmed. They still haven’t been trimmed.”

Taylor said the last time the trees were trimmed was six years ago.

The Department of Transportation tells CBS2 is it reaching out to the Parks Department and will work with them to improve visibility by the traffic control.

CBS2 also asked the Parks Department about the affected intersections, and was told a response would come on Monday.

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