The older brother of a 7-year-old Queens girl who was fatally struck by an SUV at an Astoria intersection last month is demanding the city install a traffic light at the crosswalk where his sister died.
In 11-year-old Tsering Tashi Takgye’s heartbreaking change.org petition, he said the Feb. 17 accident that killed his sister Dolma Naadhum at Newtown Road and 45th Street happened “right in front of my eyes.” And it left his family devastated just before the typically joyous Tibetan New Year.
“It could have been prevented if there was a red light there,” Takgye told The Post after a Thursday vigil outside PS85Q in Astoria, where his sister went to school.
“I’m trying to make people sign my petition so we can make the red light happen and prevent other lives from being lost.”
Takgye’s petition, which had more than 26,000 signatures Sunday, said the city must replace the stop signs with lights at three Newtown Road crossings to protect people heading to the Astoria Heights Playground, which he called “my sister’s favorite place in the world.”
The family’s campaign is gathering momentum.
At the vigil, officials and elected leaders said they support the mission to fix the intersection where the little girl — who one teacher described as “a born leader” — died after being struck by a 46-year-old woman who cops say ran a stop sign.
State Sen. Michael Gianaris, the 12th District Democrat who is also the Senate’s deputy leader, pledged to “make sure we fix Newtown Road where this happened, and to honor her father’s request that there be traffic lights there.”
Kenneth Gorman, the NYPD’s Deputy Inspector of 114th Precinct, told the crowd that “we are going to do everything we can to make sure it never happens again in our neighborhood.”
According to the city Department of Transportation website, residents can ask for new traffic lights or pedestrian signals by sending a message through its site or mailing a letter to the department.
It promises to respond within about four months.
Tsering Wangu, Dolma’s grieving father, said he requested a light from the DOT after his daughter’s death but has yet to hear back.
“I don’t see anything — no update,” he told The Post as he clutched a set of prayer beads. “I don’t understand why they don’t do something there … I don’t want any parents to suffer what I’m going through.”
Police brought Dolma to Elmhurst Hospital after a woman driving a Ford Explorer struck her at about 6 p.m. on Feb. 17.
The second-grader at PS 85 in Astoria had been walking back from the playground with her mother when she was hit.
The driver has not been charged.
The DOT said last week the woman ran a stop sign and wasn’t properly licensed — she had a learner’s permit, but did not have a licensed adult in the car like she was supposed to.
She was found to have a legal amount of alcohol in her system after the crash, according to the department.
In the petition, Dolma’s brother, is asking for lights at three crossings: Newtown Road’s intersections with 44th, 45th and 46th streets.
Taken together, they have seen their share of accidents in the past six years, according to data from NYC Crash Mapper, a website that compiles accident data.
Since February 2018, there have been a combined 11 crashes that injured 12 bicyclists, pedestrians and motorists, the data shows. In addition, one person — Dolma — was killed on that stretch of Newtown Road.
The DOT said last week it had upgraded crosswalk markings and was looking into “daylighting” — or boosting visibility by barring cars from parking close to the crosswalk, among other things.
Department officials have not decided whether to put a light at the Newtown intersection.
That particular spot saw five recorded injuries since 2018 before the fatal crash, the department said.
But the DOT’s words were likely cold comfort to neighbors who told The Post they had already complained about what they described as a dangerous intersection.
“It’s frustrating,” said a neighbor who identified himself as Daniel and saw the accident’s aftermath. “I probably made like four requests to 311 for speed bumps and traffic lights.”
Gladys Garcia, another neighbor, told The Post that drivers frequently blow through the area’s stop signs.
“They just speed through there because it’s a main street to a highway,” Garcia said. “It’s very sad, heartbreaking. I feel for the family. It’s a great tragedy, especially a 7-year-old who was just beginning life.”
On Thursday night, around 100 people held electric candles during the vigil outside Dolma’s elementary school, sharing memories of the child.
Laura Meletiadis, Dolma’s second-grade teacher, remembered the girl as always happy, always smiling.
“Dolma’s death is a tragedy, especially since Dolma was the most alive person I knew,” she said, her voice breaking as the kids in the crowd wept in grief. “Everyone loved Dolma, staff and students alike. She loved her friends and had many, not just in my class but the whole school.”
Meletiadis also said Dolma loved her family and its Tibetan heritage, which she spoke of often.
“She taught me a lot,” the teary-eyed teacher said.
Tsering Wangu, Dolma’s father, said his daughter loved school, loved talking and always thought of others first.
She once urged him to order from a pizzeria that had recently suffered a devastating fire, even if that meant skipping her favorite fast food joint.
“She told me, ‘Papa, I love McDonald’s but please buy from Retro Pizza — they need our help, they are having a problem,’” he told The Post. “She was 7 years old but she was very mature.”
One of Dolma’s relatives previously called on the DOT to fix the crossing because it “wasn’t the first time someone got hurt there.”
“I’d be walking home when people zoomed past me,” the relative said last month. “I try to avoid that area.”
Meanwhile, Tsering Wangu said his family has been left rudderless in the wake of his daughter’s death.
“Everybody loved her,” Wangu said. “I don’t have any words. I don’t know what I’m going to do.”
Additional reporting by Tina Moore