Tag Archives: p.s. 199

Slow zones rolling into Sunnyside


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Angy Altamirano

Just days before the citywide speed limit will be decreased to 25 mph, the Sunnyside community celebrated the news that it will soon be home to two new slow zones.

The slow zones, which will be launched in Sunnyside Gardens, Woodside and Sunnyside, were designed through input from the community, Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer and Community Board 2 (CB 2).

“There’s nothing more important than keeping our children safe,” Van Bramer said during the announcement on Monday afternoon in front of P.S. 199 in Sunnyside. “The single most important thing for the parents in our district is keeping traffic slow, calm, manageable and keeping their children safe.”

As part of the city’s Vision Zero initiative, the neighborhoods that will be included in these two slow zones were selected based on the transportation agency’s evaluation on crash history, traffic fatalities, community support, and the closeness of schools, senior centers and day care centers.

Slow zones are marked with high-visibility blue signs that warn drivers at all streets entering the zones. Each area has a speed limit of 20 mph and includes speed bumps and eight-foot-high letters on the road that read “20 MPH.”

The Department of Transportation (DOT) has already started to set up the Sunnyside Slow Zone, which is expected to be completed before the end of the year. The borders will be 36th Street, Queens Boulevard, 51st Street and part of the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway. The area is split diagonally by Greenpoint Avenue, which is not part of the slow zone, according to the DOT.

Since 2007 there have been four fatalities in the proposed zone and, since 2008, there have been three severe pedestrian injuries and five severe injuries involving vehicle occupants.

The Sunnyside Slow Zone, which covers an area with four schools including P.S. 199, will be made up of 20 speed bumps, in addition to the current eight bumps, and 31 neighborhood slow zone gateways.

“One thing we have in our community is a lot of traffic. We have a lot of traffic that comes through our neighborhood very fast so this is what it’s about. It’s about saving lives and about improving the quality of our life in the community,” said Joseph Conley, chair of CB 2.

The Sunnyside Gardens-Woodside Slow Zone, which DOT Queens Borough Commissioner Dalila Hall said would begin to be implemented in spring 2015, will be bordered by 43rd Street, 38th Avenue, Barnett Avenue, 58th Street, Queens Boulevard and Roosevelt Avenue. There are three schools and three daycare/pre-K centers in the area.

According to the DOT, since 2007 there has been one death in the zone and three severe pedestrian injuries.

This slow zone was proposed to include 18 speed bumps, added to the already existing 12 bumps, and 19 neighborhood slow zone gateways.

“We are committed to Vision Zero, and Vision Zero starts with our children. It starts with young people. We have to make sure that not one young person ever loses their life on the streets of New York,” Van Bramer said.

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Pols ask for closer alternative for P.S. 11 students


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/ Photo by Angy Altamirano

Woodside parents and politicians are asking the Department of Education to consider renting space in a nearby former Catholic school building rather than busing the kindergarten and first-graders miles away to Astoria.

Last week, a group of elected officials sent a letter to the DOE asking it to send the students from P.S. 11 in Woodside to the former St. Teresa School building, instead of P.S. 171 in Astoria.

The letter came as the agency announced the vote on the Woodside school’s partial co-location and re-siting had been postponed until April 9.

The 3-year relocation of the students, expected to begin for the 2014-15 school year, is a result of the School Construction Authority’s plan to build a brand new mini-building addition to P.S. 11 with a capacity of 856 seats.

In the letter the officials wrote the new option would provide the students the adequate space needed for a safe and positive learning environment, together with keeping in mind the concerns of parents. It would also keep the children in the same neighborhood.

P.S. 199 in Long Island City currently rents the first floor of the St. Teresa building for its kindergarten classes. The second and third floors are unoccupied, according to the officials.

Martin Connolly, father of three, was happy to hear about the DOE’s vote postponement and believes moving the children to the St. Teresa building would make it manageable for both the families and students.

“We as a family are more comfortable with the idea. We would like to keep our kids close by, we don’t believe our children are old enough to travel that distance every day,” said Connolly, who has a daughter in second grade and a son in kindergarten at P.S. 11. His youngest son is expected to start kindergarten at the school next year. “They’re toddlers, they’re still babies.”

The Woodside father also said other parents have not been told exactly what will happen during the three years of the temporary co-location and that when parents sign their children up for P.S. 11, they are not made aware of the re-siting.

“The DOE needs to know that everyone should be made aware of this,” he said. “They need to realize that everybody’s child is precious to them.”

The DOE did not respond to request for comment by press time.

 

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Kids, community help create dream playground in Sunnyside


| mpantelidis@queenscourier.com

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The dream of every child is to allow his imagination to run wild while creating his own unique playground.

The students of P.S. 199 are having their dreams come true.

Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer visited the school, located at 39-20 48th Avenue in Sunnyside, on October 3 to commence his Noonan Park Community Design Initiative. The councilmember has currently secured $600,000 to revitalize the park, which is used by many students from P.S. 199.

In order to truly harmonize the remodeled playground with the neighborhood, Van Bramer is requesting input from all the people who call Sunnyside home.

Beginning October 3 and ending on October 31, suggestion boxes will be present in the Sunnyside Library and at Van Bramer’s district office, providing community members the opportunity to contribute their unique ideas to the design of the playground. Suggestions can also be made by calling the councilmember’s office or emailing jvanbramer@council.nyc.gov.

“The community deserves to have a voice in how their playground looks,” said Van Bramer, who is the first elected official to ask the neighborhood’s residents for their opinions regarding the design of a public space. “The children in the community have wonderful imaginations, and exercising their ideas artistically is a great way to express their vision.”

At the kick-off event, children shared their ideas by submitting drawings and essays depicting their visions of what the playground should look like. The proposal to improve Noonan was originally presented to the councilmember by fourth graders at P.S. 199’s career day last year.

According to Anthony Inzerillo, principal of P.S. 199, the most popular student suggestions are additional swings, lower basketball hoops to allow younger children to play, new playground equipment and an increase in the number of water sprinklers.

Some children also requested tributes to Thomas P. Noonan Jr., the park’s namesake and a United States Marine who was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for heroism he displayed while serving during the Vietnam War.

“The renovations to the playground are a welcome addition to the community, and I am grateful that Councilmember Van Bramer requested our students’ input into the design,” said Inzerillo. “I am so proud of the students, because they preserved the memory of Thomas Noonan, and not only did they incorporate their own ideas, but they spoke to neighbors, friends and other people and they incorporated their input into the design as well. The nice thing is that they are going to have ownership over the park. I think they will take much better care of it and respect it, because they had input into the design. They will have a sense of pride.”