Tag Archives: traffic safety

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


| 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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Crash victim’s parents take safety oath with hundreds of students


| mchan@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Melissa Chan

Studying for the year’s biggest standardized tests can wait, District 26 Superintendent Anita Saunders said.

Scholars at P.S. 173 have a more important task at hand — memorizing the 120-word oath they took Friday to put safety first as passengers and pedestrians.

“This pledge you’re taking is very, very important,” Saunders said to a packed auditorium of wide-eyed youths. “It’s even more important than your ELA and math test.”

Almost all 940 students at the Fresh Meadows school raised their right hand and promised, in unison, to buckle up, be alert and “value the preservation of life above all else” when riding in cars or crossing the street.

The pledge was taken in honor of 3-year-old Allison Liao, who was tragically killed by an SUV in Flushing last October, while crossing Main Street at Cherry Avenue.

“We’re here today because something bad happened to our family,” Allison’s father, Hsi-Pei, said to the students. “She did nothing wrong, and she was holding an adult’s hand.”

The Liaos’ tragedy has aided a local push to stop short-tempered parents from double parking, blocking the school bus stop and letting students run across the street outside of P.S. 173, where Allison’s 5-year-old brother Preston attends.

Nearly 700 parents have signed a driver’s version of the pledge so far, PTA President Italia Augienello said.

Educators hope to hold each to their word.

“Just signing [the pledge] once is not enough,” Saunders said. “We don’t want to have another terrible tragedy.”

 

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Street Talk: Do you think more should be done to keep pedestrians safe?


| editorial@queenscourier.com

Street Talk

We think a lot more should be done to keep pedestrians safe. We’re from Woodhaven and Woodhaven Boulevard is an unsafe road. We think more speed bumps should be put in, as well as longer lights so people can cross safely.
Kendall & Elaine O

Although countdown clocks have been added, I think more should be done.  There is still a lot of traffic and the drivers don’t seem to have a care in the world.
Hermina Diaz

Personally I don’t see anything wrong with how things are, and I don’t see any change that could be made.  I think people just need to be cautious and aware of their surroundings.
Laura C.

I think for the sake of the elderly and younger children more needs to be done to keep pedestrians safe.  I think if street lights were longer it would make it safer to cross the street.
Alex Forbes

I believe some roads in Queens are very unsafe, and I see people all the time crossing the street at a red light, so I think more should be done to prevent jay walking.
Alicia S.

I feel that streets are fine the way they are. I haven’t seen any dangerous action while I’ve lived here, I just think people need to be more careful when crossing the street.
Innilys Rodriguez

I’ve never had a bad experience, but these streets are very unsafe so I think something needs to be done to keep pedestrians safe and fatalities down.
Martha Culma

We believe that these streets are unsafe. Sometimes we get nervous crossing the street because the cars will just speed by, so they should decrease the speed limit on the most dangerous roads.
Angela R. & Ariana D.

 

-BY KATELYN DI SALVO

 

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Op-ed: Make traffic safety a priority


| oped@queenscourier.com

COUNCILMEMBER COSTA CONSTANTINIDES

The 21st Street corridor between Queens Plaza and 20th Avenue has always been notorious for pedestrian fatalities.  It serves as a conduit between the Queensboro and Robert F. Kennedy Bridges, resulting in cars, trucks, and other heavy vehicles using the street to move quickly between these two points.

21st Street is also home to major senior and youth developments, such as I.S. 126, Long Island City High School, Bishop Iakovos Senior Housing, Vallone Family Senior Residence, Variety Boys & Girls Club, Queensview and North Queensview.  The increase in youth and senior populations, combined with increased commercial and cycling traffic, brings a need for improvement of traffic flow and an awareness of pedestrian safety.

According to data analyzed from the New York State Department of Transportation, New York State Department of Motor Vehicles and the New York Police Department, traffic on this stretch of 21st Street caused seven deaths and left 102 people with injuries from 2002 to 2011.

And these statistics have not improved since then. That data also showed that Queens had the highest incidents of fatalities due to traffic accidents in the city in 2013.

It’s easy to see why these deaths and injuries are occurring.

Some intersections along 21st Street have no crosswalks or countdown clocks at all. Many pedestrian crosswalks are bumpy, obscured with gravel or cracked asphalt, or otherwise impossible to cross if you’re in a wheelchair or pushing a stroller.  Some crosswalks are impossible to cross because the lights are non-existent or don’t allow for enough time to make it to the other side of the street.

This is an issue that plagues our entire city.  According to a Daily News analysis of NYPD reports, pedestrian deaths from vehicles, especially the number of children, are increasing and we are on pace to outnumber 2013 deaths in 2014.  So far, there have been 11 pedestrian deaths in 2014 across the city.

We clearly need a solution.

Earlier this month, we held a press conference on 21st Street, calling on the New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) for action. State Senator Michael Gianaris, Assemblymember Aravella Simotas, Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer, local advocacy group Transportation Alternatives, Community Board 1,  parents from local schools, neighborhood community groups and senior centers, and other local activists joined. They agreed that real change is required to make 21st Street safer for everyone.

I therefore ask that the DOT conduct a traffic study of the 21st Street corridor, with the goal of creating a more safe and accessible street for all.

We need calming measures, such as countdown clocks and traffic lights for pedestrians, as well as well-maintained flattened crosswalks with no physical impediments for pedestrians with disabilities or children in strollers.

Our growth in population and small businesses is a boon to our local economy, but we need to make sure our infrastructure keeps up with increases in traffic. There is no excuse for us not to reduce the number of pedestrian fatalities by vehicles to zero.

Costa Constantinides represents the New York City Council’s 22nd District, which includes his native Astoria along with parts of Long Island City, Woodside, East Elmhurst, and Jackson Heights. He serves as the chair the City Council’s Sub-Committee on Libraries and sits on seven standing committees: Civil Service & Labor, Contracts, Cultural Affairs, Environmental Protection, Oversight & Investigations, Sanitation, and Transportation.

 

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Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

morning roundup

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Monday: Cloudy early with peeks of sunshine expected late. High around 40. Winds WSW at 15 to 25 mph. Monday night: Partly cloudy. Low 14. Winds WNW at 10 to 20 mph.

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Woodside residents put up community stop sign to demand safer streets


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer’s Office

Woodside residents are taking matters into their own hands to make it safer to cross their streets.

Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer gathered with residents young and old on October 25 to rally against the dangerous traffic conditions along 47th Avenue in Woodside. The group then also put up their own community-made stop sign at the intersection of 47th Avenue and 60th Street.

“The reckless speeding and steady traffic along 47th Avenue presents serious safety hazards to countless young school children and seniors who cross the street every single day,” said Van Bramer. “We are taking matters into our own hands.”

The surrounding community is home to two Big Six Towers co-op apartment buildings and the Towers Play and Learn nursery school, bringing large numbers of children and seniors crossing 47th Avenue to get to school or the co-op’s senior program.

Van Bramer’s office has been contacting the Department of Transportation (DOT) since 2010 asking for traffic calming measures, like speed bumps and stop signs, to be installed along 47th Avenue between 59th and 61st Streets.

According to the councilmember, the DOT has said that based on their studies such additional measures were not necessary in the area.

“The time to act is now,” said Van Bramer. “Without a stop sign at this heavily trafficked intersection or speed humps along this street, the chances of an accident happening will continue to escalate.”

Based on the latest data available, between 2001 and present day, there have been no fatalities at the intersection and one reported pedestrian injury.

“Safety is DOT’s top priority,” said spokesperson Nicholas Mosquera. “While the agency’s recent study of this location last winter found that it did not meet the federal guidelines for additional stop signs, DOT will review the location to see what potential enhancement can be made, including adding a temporary speed board at the location to remind drivers of the safety reasons for adhering to the speed limit.”

 

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