BY TRISHA SAKHUJA
In an effort to assist Mayor Bill de Blasio’s comprehensive roadmap for safer streets, elected officials held a press conference and a town hall meeting to discuss ways to increase pedestrian safety in dangerous corridors across Queens.
Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside) held a press conference on Feb. 6 at the intersection of 48th Street and Northern Boulevard in Woodside, where a car injured five pedestrians, including a 7-year-old girl who suffered a fractured skull, to list several locations along Northern Boulevard that should be incorporated into the Mayor’s Vision Zero initiative.
“It is no secret that Northern Boulevard is one of the City’s most dangerous roadways,” Van Bramer said. “Residents who live along Northern Boulevard should never fear being killed or seriously injured in their own neighborhoods. In the last several years, too many pedestrians’ lives have been claimed by crashes that could have been prevented.”
In addition to the press conference, on Feb. 9, Assemblyman Francisco Moya (D- Jackson Heights), State Sen. Jose Peralta (D-East Elmhurst) and U.S. Rep. Joseph Crowley (D-Jackson Heights), along with advocacy group Make Queens Safer and representatives from the Dept. of Transportation and the NYPD, held a town hall meeting to discuss suggestions from community members about how to improve pedestrian safety.
Moya said the meeting’s purpose was to hear the immediate concerns of the community, in order to bring more attention to what’s happening on its streets.
“Queens is a borough of family communities,” Moya said. “It’s time for New Yorkers to stand up and call for meaningful traffic reform, because even one traffic-related death is one too many.”
Christina Furlong, a member of Make Queens Safer, said the town hall meeting was informative and it gave them a good idea about the community’s needs.
“We think it’s really important for our neighborhoods to be included in the Vision Zero plan,” she said.
Another priority the group listed includes the importance of more schools organizing a better school safety plan by conducting safety surveys of the area.
“We think it’s important for them to establish drop-off plans so the kids aren’t getting out of their parent’s cars that are double-parked,” Furlong said.
According to DOT spokesperson, safety is their first priority and in advance of the Mayor’s Vision Zero announcement, which is expected in the near future, DOT continues to get feedback from local communities about their ideas for engineering safer streets in their neighborhoods.
Reach Trisha Sakhuja at (718) 357-7400, Ext. 128, firstname.lastname@example.org, or @Tsakhuja13.