BY YVETTE BROWN
For over three years, a public school in Sunnyside has failed to receive the attention it needs when it comes to public safety.
On Monday, Council Majority Leader Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside) joined the first graders of PS 343, along with their parents, to call attention to the need for a traffic light at the intersection of 42nd Street and 47th Avenue. The rally took the children to the intersection and then to the nearest mailbox to deliver letters to the City Department of Transportation, calling on the agency to install traffic safety measures at the intersection before another car accident involving a pedestrian occurs.
“Every day that we don’t have a traffic light at this intersection, we are asking families to cross in danger, said Van Bramer. “The Department of Transportation has the responsibility of protecting our children and all local residents who cross this street every day. The agency cannot simply wait for a tragedy to occur before making the necessary improvements we need to make this street safer.”
According to the NYPD’s annual Motor Vehicle Collision Reports at that intersection, statistics show that between January 2014 and August 2015, there have been six collisions involving 12 people.
Van Bramer said his office has fought for over three years to get the traffic safety measures installed at that intersection. DOT has refused to install a traffic light at that intersection saying, “It was our judgment that additional controls at this intersection were not recommended.”
Van Bramer’s office worked with 90 first graders to organize the rally as part of PS 343’s Civics Unit, a program which allows them to study how to be good citizens at their school and in the community. All of the classes surveyed the neighborhood of Sunnyside and identified areas in the community that concerned them. Students also discussed ways to get more involved and spread ideas and proposed solutions before writing to the DOT.
“We demand a stop light on the corner of 42nd Street and 47th Avenue here in Sunnyside,” said first grader Virginia Wallace. “You can get killed at that corner, it’s very dangerous. We saw someone who had to run across the street because a car was crossing. Don’t you want to keep us safe?”
“I am very proud of our first grade students and their letter-writing campaign,” said PS 343 Principal Brooke Barr. “They are using what they have learned in class about good citizenship to make a real difference in their community. With the support of Council Member Van Bramer and Community Board 2, our teachers, students and families are working together to make our neighborhood a safer place for all.”
Assemblywoman Cathy Nolan (D-Sunnyside) also added her support for a traffic light at the intersection, invoking Mayor de Blasio’s “Vision Zero” program aimed at reducing pedestrian fatalities.
“Mayor Bill De Blasio has made his ‘Vision Zero” program a priority to protect the public by keeping our streets safe,” she said. “As a supporter of this program, I believe the administration could make a real impact by putting several traffic calming measures at this intersection.”
Reach Yvette Brown at (718)357-7400 ext. 128, firstname.lastname@example.org or @eveywrites.