While on a safety tour around Grand Avenue near P.S. 58 and Maspeth High School, one parent suddenly said, “You don’t even see the sign that there is a school here. It’s hidden behind a tree.”
Another joined in and said “the ‘school x-ing’ [markings] have faded away.”
The parents were walking around the street, pointing out issues following last week’s accident when an SUV jumped the curb and injured five students of nearby I.S. 73.
“We have to do something about it, this can’t fall on deaf ears,” said Maryann Johnson, president of the P.S. 58 Parent Teacher Association (PTA).
Johnson saw the scene of the accident and promised that safety will be a top priority for discussion at the next PTA meeting at the end of the month.
The parents got together for the tour on Monday, September 16, hosted by Councilmember Elizabeth Crowley. Crowley brought along Department of Transportation Queens Borough Commissioner Dalila Hall to see what can be done to improve safety in the area.
“Some of the things that they were asking for are slower speeds and more signs for drivers,” Hall said.
The three grade schools in the area, I.S. 73, P.S. 58 and Maspeth High School, are only a few blocks from each other and because Grand Avenue is a busy, narrow commercial strip, it presents danger to hundreds of children, parents said.
Parents also believe that other “stubborn” parents are partly to blame. They said that some speed into the area quickly because they are running late, and others illegally double and sometimes triple park to let children off. This adds to the congestion created by numerous vehicles already in the area.
Crowley suggested turning the area into a Slowdown Zone so cars go only 15 to 20 mph. The politician has also been fighting to remove Grand Avenue from the truck map so rigs would stop traveling down the skinny street. She has also advocated to convert nearby 70th Street to a one-way.
“I have two kids in local schools,” Crowley said. “I want to make sure that all parents don’t have to worry about their kids going to and from school.”
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