A bill that aims to make the city’s streets surrounding schools and parks safer may soon become law, according to a Bayside-based lawmaker.
Councilman Paul Vallone announced that his piece of legislation to improve pedestrian conditions near local schools and parks passed unanimously in the City Council on July 20, and may soon receive Mayor Bill de Blasio’s signature.
The bill will require the Department of Transportation (DOT) to examine all intersections adjacent to schools or parks that do not currently have pedestrian countdown displays to see if they are needed. It also requires that the DOT install countdown displays at the designated intersections within two years of the completed study.
According to Vallone, children and seniors are the most vulnerable pedestrian groups, with senior New Yorkers making up 13 percent of the population but accounting for approximately one-third of all traffic fatalities.
In November 2016, Vallone and dozens of parents, students and teachers rallied at J.H.S. 185 in Flushing for improved “School Safety for All,” highlighting the lawmaker’s now-passed bill as a step in the right direction. The rally came shortly after two tragic incidents occurred outside of J.H.S. 185 and J.H.S. 194 involving students being hit by vehicles. One accident left an 11-year-old boy critically injured.
“I’m proud to stand with our principals, teachers, parents, students and seniors in our combined fight for safety around our schools and parks,” Vallone said. “This is an issue that must be addressed before another child or senior is injured just crossing a public street, in our community and throughout the city. The well-being of our children should be our number one priority and this bill will provide a major boost for the safety of all students and their families.”