Tag Archives: Maspeth crash

Op-Ed: Ensuring the safety of our children


| oped@queenscourier.com


COUNCILMEMBER ELIZABETH CROWLEY

Drivers need to be more conscientious near schools. Just a few days ago, students of I.S. 73 in Maspeth got seriously injured by an out-of-control vehicle. As police investigate this accident, we owe it to those injured students and their classmates to make our streets safer.

Grand Avenue is a very busy street. The vehicular traffic is made worse during school arrival and dismissal time as P.S. 58, I.S. 73 and Maspeth High School are all located within six blocks of each other. I believe it is imperative to implement changes as soon as possible, and on Monday, along with PTA leaders, I met with Queens DOT Commissioner Dalila Hall on site to discuss how to make Grand Avenue safer.

The stretch of Grand Avenue near P.S. 58 and I.S. 73 is in need of “Safe Routes to School” program and a slowdown zone where the speed limit is reduced to 20 miles per hour. The safe routes program redesigns streets, which include expanding sidewalks, new lane paintings and improved signal timing, to ease congestion around schools.

Recently, the DOT studied vehicle speeds around all schools in New York City, and they found that 98 percent of vehicles driving around P.S. 58, I.S. 73 and Maspeth High School are going over the speed limit. This is dangerous and simply unacceptable. A comprehensive study by the DOT to change traffic patterns and slow down drivers through its “Safe Routes to School” program would be a major help in reducing congestion around these schools.

There must be constant traffic enforcement by the NYPD and DOT today. I have called on both agencies to ticket trucks that are not making local deliveries, and speeding drivers who are endangering our children must be stopped. New York recently approved speed camera enforcement at 20 schools in the city. Placing one of these cameras at Grand Avenue near P.S. 58 and I.S. 73 would certainly slow drivers down once tickets begin arriving in the mail.

Nothing is more important than ensuring the safety of our children traveling to and from school. I have brought the concerns of the community to DOT, and together, we must demand the DOT prioritize safety on Grand Avenue. Our most vulnerable and precious resource are our children, and we must do everything to keep them safe.

Elizabeth Crowley represents the 30th Council District, covering Glendale, Maspeth, Middle Village, Richmond Hill, Ridgewood and Woodhaven

 

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Student injured in Maspeth crash dies days later of asthma attack


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Liam La Guerre

A student injured when an SUV jumped the curb in Maspeth last week has died, education officials confirmed.

Michael Gomez, 13, died at Elmhurst Hospital on Sunday, September 15 of an asthma attack, according to reports.

Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott reached out to his family and the principal of I.S. 73 to express his condolences and grief counselors were dispatched to the school to talk with students and teachers.

Gomez received cuts and bruises when  the silver Honda Pilot slammed into him and four other students of nearby I.S. 73 in front a deli on Thursday, September 12. Gomez was brought to Elmhurst Hospital, but released the next day.

Two other students injured in the accident are still recovering in Elmhurst Hospital and another in New York-Presbyterian Hospital in Manhattan.

When the SUV hit the students, one girl was trapped underneath the vehicle, witnesses said. Good Samaritans rushed to help, and a half-dozen men lifted the car, while a resident pulled the girl out.

“I was so overwhelmed. I’m still in shock,” said Candice Cruz, who lives above the deli. When the car hit the students, she hurried to help and pulled the girl out from under. “Seeing the little body under there and the little girl trying to breathe, it was horrible.”

The driver of the car was trying to park in a spot in front the deli, but pressed on the gas pedal too hard, according to authorities.

Video surveillance from the deli corroborates this. Police did not charge the driver with a crime, although the investigation is ongoing, cops said.

The corner is usually filled with many children in the morning during school time, and many students go into the store to get breakfast, said Julio Lopez, who works at the deli.

“I just [stepped off] the sidewalk because my friend called me,” said Weiss Safdary, a 10th grader at Grover Cleveland High School. “I would have been under there too.”

Grand Avenue is a busy, narrow commercial strip with many trucks, buses and cars. Besides I.S. 73, about a block from the scene are P.S. 58 and Maspeth High School.

Residents have been highlighting the need for safety measures such as more signs to protect students.

“Maybe they should put something on the sidewalk,” said Carl Panganbian, 10th grader. “It’s for student safety, because you never know when [an accident] is going to happen.”

 

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