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Queens Chronicle

At site of tragedy, city approves traffic bills

Mayor de Blasio signs 11 separate bills as part of the Vision Zero initiative

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Posted: Thursday, June 26, 2014 10:30 am | Updated: 5:20 am, Wed Dec 24, 2014.

Legislation for Mayor de Blasio’s Vision Zero initiative was signed into law on the corner where it all started.

“Last time we were here in January, we were responding to a tragic loss,” de Blasio said on Monday morning at the corner of Northern Boulevard and 61st Street in Woodside. “Today, we’re again at the spot where 8-year-old Noshat Nahian was struck and killed by a tractor-trailer in December.”

In was on this corner that de Blasio announced he was out to eliminate pedestrian fatalities by 2024 and now, six months later, 11 bills, recently approved by the City Council, were signed by the mayor.

The legislation covers a number of issues, from penalizing drivers who don’t yield to pedestrians who have the right of way to giving the Taxi and Limousine Commission the ability to revoke drivers’ cabbie licenses if they fatally strike someone or partake in dangerous driving.

“We have great drivers but this and all of the other pieces of legislation will allow us to swiftly remove the few bad apples we have on our roads,” TLC Commissioner Meera Joshi said.

The ceremony was attended by a number of families who lost loved ones in traffic accidents. Many of them joined the activist group Families for Safe Streets and pushed lawmakers to introduce more traffic-calming measures on the city’s roads.

“If you listen carefully, you can hear the children of PS 152, of which Vincent Vitolo is principal, laughing and playing,” Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside) said. “There is no better sound. I want to hear more of that instead of yet another mother sobbing because her son or daughter was killed by a reckless driver.”

Van Bramer acknowledged the Nahian family for bravely speaking out against dangerous driving. Noshat’s mother, Nargish, broke down as her husband, Mohammed, clutched a picture of their little boy.

“When you think about Vision Zero, all its components, it so fundamentally comes down to reducing speeding, reducing reckless driving,” de Blasio said. “This is an essential element to that plan. It has been achieved.”

The mayor praised the state Legislature for recently authorizing the city to establish a default citywide speed limit of 25 miles an hour.

The bill signing also comes just as the NYPD began a three-week enforcement initiative targeting high collision areas in every precinct. At least two intersections are being heavily monitored in each area.

Moving forward, as the Department of Transportation, NYPD and TLC continue working together, residents will be able to report dangerous corridors in their neighborhoods.

“We’ve been conducting town hall meetings and workshops all over the city in all five boroughs,” DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg said. “We have set up a website where you can actually go on and pinpoint locations and put in, like ‘there should be more time for pedestrians to cross’ or you want to ban a left turn. For us, it is absolutely fundamental that we hear from local residents in communities all over the city. You live in the neighborhoods, you have the best sense of all of what we should be doing.”

The bill-signing ceremony also gave de Blasio and Trottenberg the opportunity to tour the recently redesigned intersection where Noshat died.

A pedestrian island was constructed in the middle of Northern Boulevard, traffic signals have been timed so there’s a pedestrian-only crossing time and crosswalk lines are more visible.

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1 comment:

  • reg131 posted at 2:10 pm on Thu, Jun 26, 2014.

    reg131 Posts: 34

    You can't continue to legislate behavior and morality although they continue to try. The sad reality is, in life accidents happen, and you can pass all the laws you want but it's not going to change a thing. In our society's need to make life "perfect" we are strangulating ourselves with rules, regulations and laws that in the end do nothing but limit our freedoms. Yes, it is tragic, but DiBlasio's campaign "Vision Zero" is unrealistic and a bit arrogant if you ask me. Who does he think he is? Is he some kind of magic man that's going to make all crime and accidents disappear by passing a law? Ludicrous, if you ask me. This is simply a "feel good" law, nothing else. While every life lost is painful, the fact of the matter is that government can't bring anyone back, not can they prevent another death from happening. This would be based on the supposition that DiBlasio is God because in the end, that's the only entity that can give or take life. But then again, isn't that the agenda here? Our government is longing to be our sole provider. Our financial supporter, our father, mother, babysitter, supplier of food, school breakfasts, lunches, universal Pre-K - they're coming for your children. Beware.