Council Member Paul Vallone recently organized a neighborhood rally for Safer Streets, Safer Students. We reached out to the Council Member to learn a little more about his focus on street safety and his proposed package of bills.
Here is how the bills would protect our children around their schools:
These three bills will require school safety slow zones at all elementary and middle schools, reducing speed limits to a maximum of twenty miles per hour, as well as reexamining every existing school slow zone to determine any further appropriate safety measures including traffic calming devices, enhanced signage and flashing lights, speed bumps and additional crossing guards.
Another bill will require that the Department of Transportation (DoT) install at least one hundred pedestrian countdown signals at intersections adjacent to schools and parks each year.
The Council Member is also drafting a resolution calling for the end of antiquated federal guidelines, which too often lead to the denial of local requests for these safety measures.
Additionally, the Council Member is circulating a petition requesting crossing guards at the school and other middle schools throughout the city.
Street safety has become a dominant issue for many parents in Eastern Queens since car crashes are the top cause of preventable deaths of New York City children between 5 and 14 years old. One in five American children under the age of 14 who were killed in traffic crashes were pedestrians. The same week Council Member Vallone’s announcement was made, students at J.H.S. 185 and J.H.S. 194 were struck by motorists. In one of the incidents, an eleven year old boy was left in critical condition.
Assemblywoman Nily Rozic is publicly endorsing Council Member Paul Vallone’s legislation. We reached out to the Assemblywoman about her support, and she told us, “Pedestrian safety is critical around our schools where existing slow zones are not enough to regulate traffic. In addition to supporting Council Member Vallone’s efforts, I remain committed to advocating on behalf of Queens students and families to ensure we are doing all that we can to improve street safety in our communities.”
Council Member Vallone explained that he is “…proud to have always stood with our principals, teachers, parents and students in our combined fight for school safety. This is an issue that must be immediately addressed before another child is injured, or worse, in our community and throughout the city. The safety of our children should be our number one priority and my package of bills would provide an enormous boost for the safety of all students and their families…The hundreds of people who joined our rally is a clear indicator of the seriousness and wide support this issue has and I look forward to working with the Administration and my colleagues to make these safety reforms a reality for our City.”
The Council Member has previously worked to upgrade the safety of the street infrastructure around J.H.S. 185, P.S. 184, and J.H.S. 194.
Update: Here is more information on the count down clock bill:
Title: A Local Law to amend the administrative code of the city of New York, in relation to requiring countdown pedestrian signals at intersections adjacent to schools and parks.
File #: Int 0671-2015
Code Section Affected:
Adds new section 19-188.1.
Sponsors: Paul A. Vallone, Mathieu Eugene, Ruben Wills, James G. Van Bramer, Donovan J. Richards, Julissa Ferreras-Copeland, Daniel Dromm , Vanessa L. Gibson, Jumaane D. Williams, Karen Koslowitz, Elizabeth S. Crowley, Laurie A. Cumbo, Fernando Cabrera , James Vacca, Costa G. Constantinides, Ritchie J. Torres, Andrew Cohen, Chaim M. Deutsch, Deborah L. Rose, Vincent J. Gentile, Rosie Mendez, Eric A. Ulrich
On agenda: 2/12/2015
Summary: The legislation would mandate that starting in 2016, and annually thereafter, the Department of Transportation shall install pedestrian countdown signals at 100 intersections adjacent to schools or parks.