Tag Archives: speeding

De Blasio signs package of Vision Zero bills at fatal Queens accident site


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo by Diana Robinson/Mayoral Photography Office

A Woodside intersection, where a fatal accident involving an 8-year-old student occurred last December, became the site where a package of traffic safety bills were signed in hopes of a brighter and safer future.

Mayor Bill de Blasio, who was joined by other elected and city officials as well as family members of victims of traffic fatalities, signed 11 bills supporting the city’s Vision Zero initiative on Monday at P.S. 152, less than a block from where third-grader Noshat Nahian was fatally struck by a tractor trailer in December.

“We’ve been taking aggressive action from that day forward, because we understand these collisions injure almost 4,000 New Yorkers a year, and kill over 250 New Yorkers in recent years,” de Blasio said. “And that’s been the minimum. And that’s been an unacceptable reality each year.”

Before signing the bills on June 23, de Blasio paid a visit to the completed Department of Transportation (DOT) project at Northern Boulevard and 61st Street, which includes two pedestrian islands, enhanced crosswalks and parking regulations.

Later this year the busy roadway, between 62nd and 102nd streets, will become one of the first Arterial Slow Zones, lowering the speed limit from 30 mph to 25 mph.

The package of bills includes requiring the DOT to study left turns and come up with a report every five years; to respond to and address major traffic signal issues within 24 hours; to produce a report on work zone safety guidelines on bridges; to install seven Neighborhood Slow Zones this year and in 2015; and to annually lower speeds to 15 to 20 mph near schools. The bills also require the agency to study major roadways and produce a report every five years.

The bills also refer to “Cooper’s Law,” named after 9-year-old Cooper Stock who was fatally struck in Manhattan, which requires the Taxi & Limousine Commission (TLC) to suspend drivers involved in a crash where a person is critically injured or killed and where a driver receives a summons for any traffic-related violation. The package also included the establishment of penalties for vehicles that fail to yield to pedestrians and bicyclists, and requiring the TLC to review crashes with critical injuries or death.

“The passage of today’s bills will bring us closer to making Vision Zero a reality in every neighborhood in the City of New York,” said Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer. “These laws will also will help reduce reckless driving and speeding through our local neighborhoods. Traffic safety is an issue our city takes seriously. Through this legislation, we will make our streets safer for all pedestrians, motorists and cyclists alike.”

The bills also address prohibiting stunt behaviors on motorcycles.

“We have promised the people of this city that we will use every tool we have to make streets safer,” de Blasio said. “Today is another step on our path to fulfilling that promise, and sparing more families the pain of losing a son, a daughter or a parent in a senseless tragedy.”

 

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Signs of life: Howard Beach 7th-graders make their own traffic safety signs


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Eric Jankiewicz

ERIC JANKIEWICZ 

Students at P.S./I.S. 232 Walter Ward School have first-hand experience with the dangers of traffic and speeding cars.

The Howard Beach school is located across the street from a shopping center, and the everyday task of crossing the streets is always tinged with danger, according to students, parents and faculty members at the school.

In response to the constant speeding that they see daily, students from a seventh-grade class designed their own traffic sign as part of a wider Department of Transportation (DOT) project for Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Vision Zero” policy. The signs went up on two locations Friday around the school.

“It’s so dangerous, “Rosemarie Asselta, a parent, said about the intersection of 153rd Avenue and 83rd Street. “They’re rushing past the school in a hurry and zooming into the [shopping center] parking lot. It’s terrifying.”

Asselta explained that the problem isn’t that drivers in the area are particularly careless. But between 84th and 79th streets on 153rd Avenue there is no stop sign or red light. Add to this the fact that the crossing guard can’t control traffic on the high-speed Avenue, and you get an area where “close calls” happen all the time, Asselta said.

The traffic sign designed by the seventh-grade class was put up on the avenue itself as well as 83rd Street, advising students that, “ready and alert wins the race.” The sign depicts a green human figure crossing the street as a yellow car, presumably, slows down as it reaches the intersection.

Jamee Lopez is one of the seventh-graders that helped design the traffic sign and for her, traffic incidents take a personal note. Last year she was crossing the avenue when she was almost hit by a car.

“I was like, ‘Oh, my God.’ And it made me realize how dangerous this area really is,” Jamee said. “Because in this school you always hear stories about kids almost getting hit but then when it happens to you, it becomes really serious.”

Jamee and her fellow classmates worked on the design process since the beginning of the school year in September 2013. During that time, they collaborated with one another on a design and visited the DOT’s sign shop in Maspeth, according to Theresa Bary, a DOT representative.

“They see it from start to finish,” said Bary, the department’s deputy director of safety education outreach. “They really take this to heart.”

 

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Queens precinct ramps up speeding enforcement to meet ‘Vision Zero’


| mchan@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/File photo

Lead-footed drivers in the 111th Precinct will have to ease up on the gas soon or get a ticket.

The precinct plans to ramp up speeding enforcement and make sure motorists yield to pedestrians, Deputy Inspector Jason Huerta said.

The push is part of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s “Vision Zero” initiative, which aims to reduce traffic fatalities to zero within the next 10 years. De Blasio’s plan also calls for a reduction in the citywide speed limit from 30 to 25 mph and stiffer penalties on reckless taxi and livery drivers.

Speeding and failing to yield make up 70 percent of pedestrian fatalities in the city, NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton said.

Officers will be closely eyeing major area intersections like Northern and Bell Blvds. and Springfield Blvd. and Horace Harding Expwy., Huerta said.

The 111th Precinct  covers Bayside, Douglaston, Little Neck, Auburndale, Hollis Hills and Fresh Meadows. It is one of many citywide precincts to beef up traffic enforcement in order to reach the mayor’s goals.

There have been no pedestrian deaths within the precinct this year, Huerta said.

However, a 2-year-old boy was hit by a car Monday afternoon in Auburndale after he darted onto 196th St. near Northern Blvd., police said, though he is expected to recover.

“They think the child is going to pull through,” Huerta said. “Obviously, it’s a tragedy.”

 

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De Blasio says close to ‘Zero’ after vehicle caught violating traffic laws


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Liam La Guerre

After a vehicle carrying Mayor Bill de Blasio was caught breaking multiple traffic laws just days following his announcement of a plan to address dangerous driving, he responded to the report, saying he was still committed to traffic safety.

“I have great respect for NYPD security training and protocols. I am committed obviously to traffic safety and safe streets in NYC,” de Blasio said at an unrelated press conference Friday.

“That’s why we put forward Vision Zero,” he continued, referring to the plan.

The mayor was heading back to City Hall from a press conference in Maspeth on fixing potholes Thursday when the violations occurred, according to CBS New York, which captured the incident on video.

Its news crews saw de Blasio’s two-vehicle caravan break numerous laws, including exceeding the speed limit, going through a stop sign at a Queens intersection and changing lanes without signaling.

De Blasio refused to answer questions on the violations Friday. He said he was “very comfortable” with what was said by NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton earlier in day and to refer to those comments.

Bratton defended the mayor’s security and said they did “what they’re trained to do,” CBS New York reported.

In a statement the NYPD, which provides security and transportation for the mayor, said its personnel assigned to his security detail receives special training in driving for security and safety reasons.

“At certain times, under certain conditions, this training may include the use of techniques such as maintaining speed with the general flow of traffic, and may sometimes include tactics to safely keep two or more police vehicles together in formation when crossing intersections,” the statement said. “The handling of police vehicles transporting any protectee is determined solely by police personnel based on their specialized training in executive protection and professional judgment.”

The violations come on the heels of the mayor’s Vision Zero plan, which aims to reduce traffic fatalities to zero within the next 10 years.

On Tuesday, de Blasio announced a set of initiatives as part of that plan. They include increasing enforcement against speeding, reducing the citywide “default” speed limit from 30 to 25 mph, and expanding the use of speed and red light enforcement cameras.

According to CBS 2, his cars were observed going 40 to 45 mph in a 30 mph zone, and up to 60 mph in a 45 mph zone.

Earlier Friday, the mayor was caught violating another street safety law, according to the New York Post, which witnessed him jaywalking across 11th Street on 6th Avenue in Park Slope, near his home.  De Blasio’s transgression follows a recent NYPD crackdown on jaywalking that he supported.

 

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Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

morning roundup

TODAY’S FORECAST

Friday: Fog and drizzle early…then rain. High 51. Winds SSE at 10 to 20 mph. Chance of rain 70%. Friday night: Cloudy with light rain early…then becoming partly cloudy. Low 33. Winds WSW at 10 to 15 mph. Chance of rain 60%.

EVENT OF THE DAY: Queens Council on the Arts presents “A Night with Dancers”

Queens Council on the Arts’ 3rd Space is proud to present an evening with Queens-based dancers and choreographers Monica Hogan, Hazel Lever and Selma Treviño who will be performing works-in-progress. Artists and the culturally curious are invited to participate in an evening of movement and discussion, to help workshop works in progress and gain unique insight into the artistic process. Dancers are especially encouraged to join us for a unique networking and community building opportunity. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

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De Blasio caravan seen speeding, running stop signs: report


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo: Rob Bennett for the Office of Mayor Bill de Blasi

Updated Friday, Feb. 20, 2:55 p.m.

A vehicle carrying Mayor Bill de Blasio was allegedly caught speeding and breaking other traffic laws just two days after he unveiled his plan to prevent reckless driving.

The mayor was heading back from a press conference in Maspeth on fixing potholes Thursday afternoon when the traffic violations occurred, according to CBS New York, which captured the incident on video.

Its news crews allegedly saw de Blasio’s two-vehicle caravan violate numerous laws, including exceeding the speed limit, going through a stop sign at a Queens intersection and changing lanes without signaling.

According to CBS 2, his cars were observed going 40 to 45 mph in a 30 mph zone, and up to 60 mph in a 45 mph zone.

On Tuesday, de Blasio announced a set of initiatives as part of his Vision Zero plan, which aims to reduce traffic fatalities to zero within the next 10 years.

They included increasing enforcement against speeding, reducing the citywide “default” speed limit from 30 to 25 mph, and expanding the use of speed and red light enforcement cameras.

A de Blasio spokesperson told CBS New York that the mayor was “firmly committed to the traffic safety policies outlined this week,” but referred questions on the violations to the NYPD.

In a statement the NYPD, which provides security and transportation for the mayor, said its personnel assigned to his security detail receives special training in driving for security and safety reasons.

“At certain times, under certain conditions, this training may include the use of techniques such as maintaining speed with the general flow of traffic, and may sometimes include tactics to safely keep two or more police vehicles together in formation when crossing intersections,” the statement said. “The handling of police vehicles transporting any protectee is determined solely by police personnel based on their specialized training in executive protection and professional judgment.”

Some Maspeth residents agreed, citing that the NYPD has to protect the leader of the city.

“It’s not [de Blasio] telling the guy to blow the sign,” said Anthony Kosior.

But most residents that talked with The Courier expressed frustration with the hypocritical behavior.

“You can’t try to pass a law if you’re not going to abide by it yourself,” Lynn Sheridan said.

Ben Vessa, a Middle Village resident agreed, “Nobody knows that’s Mayor de Blasio with his black Suburban. If they see a guy break [a sign] they’ll do it too.”

Facing reporters outside of his Brooklyn home Friday morning, de Blaiso again referred the matter to the NYPD.

He said he will answer questions on the incident during a press conference later today.

Shortly after making that statement, the mayor was caught violating another street safety law, according to the New York Post, which witnessed him jaywalking across 11th Street on 6th Avenue in Park Slope. De Blasio’s transgression follows a recent NYPD crackdown on jaywalking that he supported.

 

 -With additional reporting by Liam La Guerre

 

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City installs Slow Zones in Queens


| brennison@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of the mayor's office

New Neighborhood Slow Zones in four Queens communities will give pedestrians a break as the city applies the brakes to speeding drivers.

The slow zone program reduces speed limits from 30 mph to 20 mph in designated residential neighborhoods while also adding safety measures such as speed bumps. A pedestrian has a 95 percent chance of surviving if struck by a car traveling 20 mph, the Department of Transportation (DOT) said.

“One quarter of all fatalities in New York City are caused by speeding,” said DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan. “Today we’re continuing the fight to put the brakes on dangerous speeding.”

The program expansion was announced by Mayor Michael Bloomberg at a Tuesday, July 10 press conference in Corona, which along with Auburndale, Elmhurst and Jackson Heights are among the 13 neighborhoods throughout the city that will have a slow zone installed. Three of the four Queens areas are more dangerous than 70 percent of borough streets, according to DOT statistics.

“We are continuing our assault on the number one traffic killer: speeding. We’ve seen success already where we have installed slow zones and we expect safety will improve as speeding is reduced in these communities,” Bloomberg said.

Blue gateway signs will be installed at entry points of the approximately quarter square mile zones along with signs noting the new speed limit. Construction should be completed by the late summer.

The 13 neighborhoods will join the Claremont section of the Bronx, which was the first community in the city to install the program in November. Since that time, speeding is down 10 percent in the area, Khan said.

Bloomberg said he is looking to build on the safety gains the city has made in protecting residents and drivers. There are 30,000 fewer accidents (80,000 versus 50,000) resulting in injuries than in 2001 and over that span the number of drivers that perish in accidents is down nearly 40 percent.

Crash rates, community support, number of schools, senior centers and day care centers are considered when examining areas for slow zones.

South Ozone Park speed bump should slow down speeding


| mchan@queenscourier.com

Some South Ozone Park residents are welcoming a bump in the road with open arms.

Community Board 10 recently voted unanimously in favor of installing a hump on 134th Street from Rockaway Boulevard to Sutter Avenue to curb the street’s speeding issue.

According to resident Claire Austin, 134th Street first became a danger zone close to 10 years ago when a Dunkin Donuts opened on the corner, bringing more traffic to the street.

“It’s something we’ve been trying to do for a while,” she said. “It was a long battle.”

Austin said she would watch from her 134th Street home as cars would quickly turn the corner and dangerously speed away.

“Cars were moving way too fast down a narrow, two-way street,” she said.

Now, she hopes the bump will finally put the brakes on lead-footed drivers.

“This will slow the cars down,” Austin said. “There are kids on the block. It’s not a retired community. There are a lot of young families with kids that we’re worried about.”

According to the Department of Transportation (DOT), the street has seen its fair share of injuries.

From 2006 to 2010, a DOT spokesperson said, 10 motor vehicle occupants were injured at 134th Street and Sutter Avenue, while one pedestrian, one bicyclist and 15 motor vehicle occupants were injured at 134th Street and Rockaway Boulevard.

According to Betty Braton, chair of Community Board 10, the speed bump will be installed in a few months.