Tag Archives: Maspeth High School

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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Crash near Maspeth school prompts talk of safety improvements


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre

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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Vets get valuable info at forum


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Liam La Guerre

Army veteran Henry Dumas knows the importance of military benefits.

The Queens native served in Korea, Germany and Panama. When he returned and needed a job, Helmets to Hardhats, which finds constructions jobs for veterans, helped him. Now he wants a house and hopes the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) can help with that.

“I have been thinking about it for a while and it would be good if the VA could assist me in doing that,” Dumas, 36, said.

Dozens of veterans attended a forum at Maspeth High School on July 15, which Congressmember Grace Meng and Councilmember Elizabeth Crowley organized, to learn about available services and benefits.

“When you are physically separated from family, from jobs, it’s hard to come back,” Meng said. “And to have to get readjusted to society it’s something that’s very difficult for them. We want to make sure that our veterans are taken care of.”

The forum featured a lecture by Edward Perry from the VA’s New York office. Perry explained how former military personnel can apply for compensation. He also described stipulations for the VA pension and touched on veterans’ life insurance, home loans and the eligibility details of the Post 9/11 GI Bill.

Various veterans’ groups also gave out information about their programs, ranging from assisting with unemployment to equal rights, education and legal services.

The Allied Veterans Memorial Day Parade Committee of Ridgewood and Glendale took time at the event to honor Crowley with a plaque. She was able to get funding to save the group’s parade several months ago.
Crowley said she hopes the forum can become an annual event, something Dumas agreed with.

“These things should happen more often,” he said. “There are benefits that are available to us and veterans should know about them.”

 

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Maspeth community welcomes new high school site


| mhayes@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of the Office of Councilmember Elizabeth Crowley

A year after its opening, Maspeth High School now has a new, state-of-the art building to call home.

The Maspeth community welcomed the new school building to the neighborhood in a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Monday, February 25, with Borough President Helen Marshall, Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott, Councilmember Elizabeth Crowley, various elected officials and school administrators.

“Maspeth is a better place to live and raise a family because we have this high school,” said Crowley. “The new building is providing the facilities for 21st century learning for our students.”

The opening ceremony featured performances by the school’s string orchestra, the International Thespian Society and the dance company.

Maspeth High School first opened for the 2011 to 2012 school year at the Queens Metropolitan High School campus on Metropolitan Avenue. The school’s new site is roughly three miles away, on 74th Street in Maspeth. It was one of the last public high schools in the city to receive local priority zoning, which ensures local residents have the opportunity to attend.

 

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