We must feel safe crossing the street during the day ands walking home from the subway at night.
Whether you walk, take the bus, ride your bike, hop on the subway or drive—safety is paramount. After three children were killed on Northern Boulevard in 2013, I knew I couldn’t stay on the sidelines. Since then I have worked with local advocates from Make Queens Safer and Queens Transportation Alternatives to bring a holistic approach to street safety. We cannot fix a single street alone, we have to consider the surrounding blocks, otherwise we are just shifting the danger down the block.
I am the co-chair of the Fix Northern Boulevard campaign for Transportation Alternatives in Queens. We are working to make Northern Boulevard safer and help the 14,000 daily bus riders who rely on the Q66 bus. We need to give buses priority, have camera enforcement and transit signal priority. I am also working closely with NYC Department of Transportation to create a “slow zone” during arrival and dismissal time along the 34th Avenue corridor, where in less than two know miles, we have eight schools and over 7,000 students traveling to and from school each day, including middle schoolers, walking unaccompanied, many for the first time. Traffic safety is the most pressing safety issue in all of our local schools, yet it has not been addressed. Albany establishes the school speed zones and next we must empower school safety officers and traffic agents the authority to issue tickets for reckless driving, distracted driving and double parking around schools. I want the focus to be on prevention: shorter crossings, better lighting, low speed zones, raised pedestrian crossings and getting our most reckless drivers off the road before they cause harm.
As a former prosecutor for over 20 years, I understand the importance of feeling safe in your community. For too long our criminal justice system hasn’t considered vehicular violence as a crime. We need to treat cars like the dangerous weapons they are. We need to implement restorative justice practices giving victims and their families a voice in the process.
Where have our elected officials been?
It’s not enough to come out AFTER a child in our community is hit by a car, after one of our neighbors dies. We must focus on changing negative behavior. We need proactive leadership. In Albany, I will make sure that we involve school officials, community members and local authorities in all safety issues. I will make sure we properly fund our buses and trains so people can safely get to school, work and all points in between. I will make sure we focus on prevention, and street treatments not just punishment after the fact. I will work from day one to strengthen our laws against distracted driving and vehicular violence so our streets are safer for all of us no matter how we choose to travel around our neighborhood.