Vision Zero for School Kids

Make Queens Safer strongly supports Mayor de Blasio’s Vision Zero initiative.  After two years of the program, we believe that the city needs to begin putting more focus on initiatives to improve safety for vulnerable populations, including children, teens, and the elderly.

In particular, schools have not been sufficiently integrated into the city’s Vision Zero efforts.   There have been a number of good early steps.  We were pleased by the recent announcements  DOT and DOE would collaborate on a new Vision Zero curriculum for 4th-6th graders.  We applaud the use of speed cameras in school zones and the Mayor’s commitment to broadening their deployment and hours of operation. We appreciate the efforts of some schools to put in place safer arrival and dismissal procedures. And we’re fans of the DOT Safety Education and Outreach office’s excellent programs.

But there is much more that needs to be done to sharpen the focus on safe access to schools.  The Department of Education only recently joined the interagency coordination process established to implement Vision Zero (which initially included only NYPD, DOT, TLC and the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene), and their role is limited to the new 4th-6th grade VZ curriculum.  DOE’s role in Vision Zero needs to be much more central, befitting its tremendous impact and reliance on the city’s streets.   DOE educates more than 1 million children in over 1,800 public schools whose parents, teachers and school administrators travel during set hours daily.  DOE employs over 135,000 people.

Key Issues at NYC Schools  

  • School safety plans don’t mention street safety
  • Lack of coordination and follow-up for safety complaints
  • Extremely small reach of DOT school safety education
  • Limited resources of NYPD crossing guards and traffic agents

Better interagency cooperation and more DOE involvement is needed to help schools with policies and procedures for safe student arrival and dismissal. At elementary schools, afternoon dismissal is particularly challenging, because of the need to monitor that children are being delivered to the correct adults, and the large number of parents who drive to the schools to collect their children. The number of crossing guards is inadequate, their deployment appears to be uneven and arbitrary, and they lack the training and authority to perform traffic management on busy corridors. The city lacks effective channels for raising these concerns, so they tend to be addressed only when they capture the attention of a sympathetic elected official. The overall program needs to be addressed in a more comprehensive manner, and would benefit tremendously from the proactive, data-driven, interagency approaches that characterize the city’s other Vision Zero efforts.

Recommendations

We would like to propose the following to integrate schools more completely into the Vision Zero program.

DOT:

  • Refresh the Safe Routes to Schools program. The city’s “Safe Routes to Schools” plans are outdated. NYCDOT needs resources to update and overhaul this program.
    • The report on “General Mitigation Measures” used for these plans was developed 12 years ago. It needs to be updated to incorporate NYCDOT’s current street design toolkit.
    • The Safe Routes to Schools program should be broadened to incorporate curb management, traffic management and other operational strategies. These could include temporary street closures and the establishment of additional no-parking zones during school arrival and dismissal hours.
    • The program should continue to look beyond the immediate school perimeter to address safe crossings for students at major arterials nearby.
    • NYCDOT should work with schools and precincts to reassess conditions in the field, update school traffic safety maps, and develop new data-driven priorities for capital and operational investments.
  • Safe arrival and dismissal policies manual. Elementary schools are unique- as afternoon dismissal poses the challenge of delivering the child to the correct adults, especially in schools where parents drive to pick up.  NYCDOT should lead development of a “best practices” manual to provide guidance to schools on techniques for managing sidewalk crowds and vehicular pick-ups and drop-offs in congested neighborhoods.
  • Recognition for best practices.  NYCDOT should publicly recognize a handful of schools each year that have taken innovative and comprehensive approaches to school access safety.
  • Increase reach of traffic safety education programs.  Unfortunately the school reached by these programs has been steadily declining.  In 2013, DOT visited over 700 schools.  In 2015, they visited 580 schools.  The current safety education goals in the Vision Zero Year Two report are to reach 500 schools each year.   More resources are needed.

SafetyEdMap

DOE:

  • A Vision Zero champion in every school. Every school should designate a person to lead its Vision Zero efforts. This person would:
    • Act as a site coordinator and liaison for the city’s Vision Zero efforts.
    • Review and update policies and procedures for student arrival and dismissal.
    • Work to integrate school access safety into School Safety Plans.
    • Participate in Parent-Teacher Association meetings to report news about school safety plans and receive feedback on issues and concerns.
    • Be empowered to elevate issues and concerns about school access safety and request an official review by the local NYPD precinct and DOT borough commissioner.
    • Reassess and coordinate the school’s participation in DOT safety education programs.
  • A Vision Zero Coordinator at DOE. This person would oversee the overall program within DOE, including:
    • Providing guidance, training, and support to the school VZ champions.
    • With NYPD and NYCDOT, prepare an annual report on access safety issues raised by school coordinators, and how these concerns are being addressed.
    • Solicit feedback from school VZ champions on safety educational programs that reach each school, and publish annual statistics on the numbers of students reached by each program, and teachers’ assessments of the programs’ quality and effectiveness.  Establish an online feedback and rating system, so that teachers and administrators can weigh in on which programs they found to be effective and productive for their students.

NYPD:

  • Expand and rationalize the use of school crossing guards.  The number of crossing guards is inadequate, and their deployment appears to be uneven and arbitrary.  The city lacks effective channels for addressing concerns raised about crossing guard placement, and is often in a position where it is forced to react to the communities that complain the loudest.  The placement of crossing guards would benefit tremendously from the comprehensive, data-driven, interagency approaches that characterize the city’s other Vision Zero efforts.
  • Mobilization of other NYPD resources. Crossing guards are not trained or empowered to manage traffic.  On major dangerous arterials near schools, NYPD should be assigning Traffic Enforcement Agents to manage traffic and perform targeted enforcement during school arrival and dismissal hours.  Strategies should be developed to discourage discharging passengers in traffic, and citations should be issued for U-turns, cell phone use by drivers, and other dangerous behaviors in school zones.

Department of Health and Mental Hygiene:

  • Integrate pedestrian safety into school wellness programs.
  • Part of Vision Zero year two goals (section 2.38) was to “Create new partnerships with schools and priority neighborhoods that will promote Vision Zero and active living.”  Department of Health should be involved in safety education
    • As a health risk topic
    • As a school based active design project, Safe Routes to Schools should be incorporated.
  • DOH already produces a child fatality report which shows that motor vehicle injury is a leading cause of death in school aged children. They have studied this further in Understanding Child Injury Report which further investigates motor vehicle related deaths.  They should continue to expand their analysis and publications on this topic.

NYS Legislature

  • Pass legislation permanently authorizing NYC’s use of traffic safety cameras in school zones; authorize their use at every school in the city; and extend their operation around the clock.

See also:

School map

1/24/2016, Updated 5/17/2016

When “No-Brainer” might mean “No-Brains”

111-rally-fb-flier-eng-nologo

Council Member Julissa Ferreras-Copeland is hosting this event at City Hall. While we’d hoped this neighborhood issue could be resolved, it seems that CB4 Queens will be where Vision Zero initiatives brought forth by the Mayor and DOT must be challenged get for all similar places across the city … we hope this inspires coty-wide action from poorer, neighborhoods of color, that they recognize their rights to safe commutes, and find the power to stand for them.
Cars, bikes and pedestrians all have a part to play in safety on our streets. Creating visible infrastructure like bike lanes and improved and expanded crosswalks could possible educate drivers to the truth that we live in a mulit-modal city.

This roadway is built to outmoded design standards, and is hazardous to the many cyclists, pedestrians, and motorists that use it. We commend DOT for its extensive public outreach and for being open to a wide range of public input, but now is the time to move forward with a safer street design.

For too long, the total priority of car culture in NYC has endangered our residents. We’re talking about nine blocks abutting a park in a poor community with little access to public recreation.

Our efforts and those of the DOT have been exhausted. Yet, despite this three-year struggle that 111th has faced, our community still lacks the protections divvied out to other neighborhoods.

The link between schools and street safety must be direct!

The word was, that the New York Hall of Science would house a hundred seat UPK to open in 2019. What? Having kids cross 111th street without crosswalks or any traffic calming measures? No bike lanes for all the #bikingqueens families? Surely traffic safety would be considered, wouldn’t it?

Without any warning, when school began this year, students and parents of P.S. 28 in Corona found out their yard had been torn out and trailers for new UPK seats were installed just across from NYSCI.

Already hardened to the reality that their school borders 111th street, a road awaiting a DOT recommended safety redesign, families and the surrounding community continue to fight for a safer 111th.

Now in the third year of trying to push Community Board 4 Queens to approve DOT’s plan for 111th.

We’ve come to think that the expression “No-brainer” means that folks making these decisions do so with No brains! By that, we mean that the connection between schools and traffic safety has to be direct and community driven.

The 2016-2017 School year has begun!

We wish everyone a safe and healthy year. Soon, you’ll be invited to Curriculum nights, or Meet the Teacher events. We encourage you to bring up traffic safety concerns with your school, and share with us the advice or resources you are offered to keep your kids safe. The combination of safe routes and infrastructure, traffic enforcement and respectful, law abiding drivers could make the difference for one of our 1 million school kids. We’ve created a survey and would love your input.

Please fill out our Traffic Safety Survey

Tracking Progress: June 2016

Tracker-2016-06

Fatalities. In June, there were three pedestrian fatalities in Queens. The neighbors we lost included:

  • A Pedestrian, killed on June 16 on Whitestone Expressway between 20th Ave. and Linden Place, Flushing (109th Precinct)
  • A Pedestrian, killed on June 17 on Northern Blvd. near 146 Street, Flushing (109th Precinct)
  • Doniqueca (Niiqua) Cooke, 21, Pedestrian, killed on June 30 on Junction Blvd. at the Long Island Expressway (110th Precinct)

In the 12 months ending June 2016, there have been 73 overall traffic fatalities in Queens, down 22% from the 93 people killed in 2013, the Vision Zero benchmark year. Citywide, there has been an 18% decline in fatalities.

Injuries. In the 12 months ending in June 2016, there have been 2,657 pedestrians injured in Queens by motor vehicles, a decline of 5% from the Vision Zero benchmark year, 2013. In the same time, there have been 921 injuries to cyclists, a rise of 12% since 2013. Overall, including motor vehicle occupants, there have been 16,948 people injured in motor vehicle crashes in Queens over the past year, up 9% since 2013. Citywide, there has been a 1% increase in injuries over this time. Across the city, there has been a general upswing in injuries from vehicular crashes in recent months, a pattern that is seen across nearly every borough. This is most likely due to an underlying citywide increase in traffic and/or pedestrian activity.

Enforcement. Overall, while enforcement of speeding, red light running, and not giving right of way to pedestrians remains significantly higher than pre-Vision Zero levels, tickets issued for illegal cell phone use, an important contributor to distracted driving, remains sharply down. Overall, enforcement across all four categories in Queens is up 2% since 2013. Citywide, enforcement is up 19%.

Noteworthy precincts.  Overall, the 109th, 110th and 114th precincts show sharply reduced enforcement relative to 2013, and the 109th and 114th precincts also show significantly increased traffic injuries.  The 100th, 102nd, 104th, 106th, 108th, 112th, and 113th precincts have seen enforcement levels increase more than the citywide average (19%), but of these, only the 100th Precinct has seen traffic injuries decline significantly so far.

Click here to download our full detailed report.

Tracking Progress: May 2016

Queens-2016-05

It has been a while since we’ve been able to get current data from NYPD, but now we can catch up on Vision Zero progress so far in 2016.

Fatalities. So far in 2016, there have been nine pedestrian or cyclist fatalities in Queens. The neighbors we lost included:

  • Nancy Ventura, 61, Pedestrian, killed on January 22, 2016 at College Point Blvd. and 15th Ave. in College Point (109th Precinct) (Streetsblog)
  • Dorothy Heimann, 90, Pedestrian, struck on February 7, 2016 at Clintonville Street 17th Avenue in Whitestone (109th Precinct), died on March 4th, hit and run (Streetsblog)
  • Alexa Smith, 16, Pedestrian, killed on February 10, 2016 at Sunrise Highway at Francis Lewis Boulevard in Rosedale (105th Precinct) by hit and run driver (Times Ledger)
  • Besik Shengelia, 48, Pedestrian, killed on February 28, 2016 at 111th Street near 109th Avenue in South Ozone Park (106th Precinct) by hit and run driver (Streetsblog)
  • Lin Qinyun, 64, Pedestrian, killed on March 11, 2016 at 37th Avenue at 113th Street in Corona (115th Precinct) (Streetsblog)
  • Male Pedestrian, 57, killed on April 5, 2016 at 35th Avenue and Prince Street in Flushing (109th Precinct) (Streetsblog)
  • Sean Crume, 45, Pedestrian, killed on April 6, 2016 at 21st Street and 30th Road in Astoria (114th Precinct), by a hit and run driver (Streetsblog)
  • Rodney Tavarez, 18, Skateboarder, killled on April 17, 2016 at Forest Parkway and Park Lane South, Woodhaven (102nd Precinct) in collision with NYC Parks truck (QNS.com)
  • Doodnach Lalchan, 43, killed on May 8, 2016 at 115th Avenue and 131st Street in South Ozone Park (106th Precinct), by two hit-and-run drivers (abc7NY)

In the 12 months ending May 2016, there have been 68 overall traffic fatalities in Queens, down 27% from the 93 people killed in 2013, the Vision Zero benchmark year. Citywide, there has been a 21% decline in fatalities.

Injuries. In the 12 months ending in May 2016, there have been 2,620 pedestrians injured in Queens by motor vehicles, a decline of 6% from the Vision Zero benchmark year, 2013. In the same time, there have been 941 injuries to cyclists, a rise of 14% since 2013. Overall, including motor vehicle occupants, there have been 16,896 people injured in motor vehicle crashes in Queens over the past year, up 9% since 2013. Citywide, there has been a 0.1% increase in injuries. Citywide, there has been a general upswing in injuries from vehicular crashes in recent months, a pattern that is seen across nearly every borough. This is most likely due to an underlying citywide increase in traffic and/or pedestrian activity.

Enforcement. Overall, while enforcement of speeding, red light running, and not giving right of way to pedestrians remains significantly higher than pre-Vision Zero levels, tickets issued for illegal cell phone use, an important contributor to distracted driving, remains sharply down. Overall, enforcement across all four categories in Queens is up 4% since 2013. Citywide, enforcement is up 21%.

See our full report here, including results by borough and police precinct.

Safety Cameras at #EverySchool!

Clipboard01Traffic crashes are the #1 cause of injury-related death for children in New York City, but only 7% of New York City schools are protected by speed safety cameras.  Today there are only 140 speed safety cameras, switched on for just 60 hours a week.

A movement of New Yorkers is demanding more for their children. Parents are asking Albany legislators for speed safety cameras for every school, to protect every child, every hour of the day.

Make Queens Safer would like to thank the following elected officials, schools, and community organizations for supporting traffic safety cameras at every school in NYC:

Queens Borough President Melinda Katz

Queens District Attorney Richard Brown

US Congressmember Carolyn B. Maloney
US Congressmember Grace Meng

NYS Senator Joseph Addabbo
NYS Senator Leroy Comrie
NYS Senator Jose Peralta
NYS Senator Toby Ann Stavisky

NYC Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer
NYC Council Member Costa Constantinides
NYC Council Member Julissa Ferreras
NYC Council Member Peter Koo
NYC Council Member Antonio Reynoso
NYC Council Member Donovan Richards

NYS Assembly Member Jeffrion Aubry
NYS Assembly Member Vivian Cook
NYS Assembly Member Andrew Hevesi
NYS Assembly Member Ron Kim
NYS Assembly Member Margaret M. Markey
NYS Assembly Member Nily Rozic
NYS Assembly Member Catherine Nolan
NYS Assembly Member Aravella Simotas

Academy for Careers in Television & Film
Art For A Start, NYC
Dutch Kills Centraal
Generation Q – Queens House
Immaculate Conception School
Kehillat Tikvah: A Jewish Community of Hope
Kidical Mass
LaGuardia Community College
L.I.C. Community Boathouse
M’kekado School of Karate
The Noguchi Museum
Pomonok Senior Center
Public School 173 Fresh Meadows
Queens Community House
Queensboro Hill Flushing Civic Association
Rego Park Alliance
The Renaissance Charter School
Socrates Sculpture Park
Sunnyside Artworks
VOICE Charter School of New York

…and more to come!

See here to join the #EverySchool campaign or see a list of its supporters.   We’ll be updating this list as more endorsers appear on their site.

Tracking Progress: December 2015

Make Queens Safer began tracking Vision Zero progress in Queens in early 2014, and has sought to present NYPD data in a format that makes patterns and trends in the data easier to understand.  See our full statistical report tracking Vision Zero progress here.

Queens-2015-12

Initially, the goal was to present the results with a minimum of commentary, allowing real trends to reveal themselves over time.  With the second year of the de Blasio administration’s Vision Zero initiative now concluded, enough time has passed to begin assessing where progress is being made and where it is not.

Overall, the data suggest that Queens is lagging the other four boroughs in key measures of Vision Zero progress, especially total traffic injuries and tickets issued for driving behaviors that put people at risk.  In five districts (Community Boards 1, 4, 7, 12, and 13), implementation of Vision Zero has been particularly weak and action to jumpstart street safety improvements is most urgently needed.

Fatalities. There were 8 traffic fatalities in Queens in December. The neighbors we lost included:

  • Valery Duvert, 50, Driver killed on December 2nd on South Conduit Avenue at 78th Street in Ozone Park.
  • Jorge Bermudez, 30, Driver killed on December 6th on Laurel Hill Blvd. at 48th Street in Sunnyside.
  • Unidentified man, 60, Diver killed on December 7th on Union Turnpike at 174th Street in Hillcrest.
  • Jaramillo Ovidio, 17, Pedestrian killed on December 8th at Northern Blvd. and Junction Blvd. in Corona, hit and run.
  • Ramnauth Mahabir, 83, Pedestrian struck on December 12th at Rockaway Blvd. and 115th Street in Ozone Park, died two weeks later.
  • Tarik Williamson, 45, Driver killed on December 16th on Van Wyck Expressway at 73rd Avenue in Jamaica.
  • Giovanna Livolsi, 76, Pedestrian killed on December 16th at Metropolitan Ave. near 75th Street in Middle Village .
  • Nara An, 24, Passenger killed on December 18th on Sanford Avenue near 155th Street, Murray Hill.

Fatalities-2015-12

In 2015, there were 74 overall traffic fatalities in Queens according to NYPD statistics, down 20% from the 93 people killed in 2013, the Vision Zero benchmark year. Citywide, there was an 18% decline in fatalities.  This result represents encouraging progress for year two of the Vision Zero initiative.  Fatality counts for specific classes of road users within specific boroughs are small numbers and are subject to random variation, so care should be taken not to assign too much significance to results within these results.

Injuries.  Citywide, there has been an overall reduction of 7% in traffic injuries, relative to 2013.  However, Queens has seen no such improvement, with total injuries 0.9% higher in 2015 relative to 2013.  Queens has lagged behind all other boroughs in reducing traffic injuries.  Manhattan has seen a 14% reduction, Staten Island has seen a 9% reduction, and the Bronx and Brooklyn have seen 8% reductions.

In the calendar year 2015…

  • There have been 2,430 pedestrians injured in Queens by motor vehicles, a decline of 13% from 2013. In the other boroughs, there have been reductions from 16% (Brooklyn) to 19% (Manhattan).
  • There have been 914 injuries to cyclists, a rise of 11% since 2013. Much of this rise is likely due to the overall increase in cycling rates.  Overall, the increase in cyclist injuries in Queens has been greater than the citywide average of 6%.  In other boroughs, Brooklyn has seen a 1% reduction in cyclist injuries, Manhattan has seen a 6% increase, Staten Island has seen a 13% increase, and the Bronx has seen a 24% increase.
  • There have been 12,320 injuries to motorists and passengers, a rise of 4% since 2013. Queens is the only borough where injuries to drivers and passengers now exceed 2013 levels.  In the other boroughs, injuries to motor vehicle occupants have declined by 6% (Brooklyn) to 15% (Manhattan).

Injuries-2015-12

Overall, there have been 15,664 people injured in motor vehicle crashes in Queens over the past year.  The following Queens neighborhoods have total traffic injuries at or above 2013 levels:

  • CB 1 / 114th Precinct (Astoria): +4%
  • CB 6 / 112th Precinct (Forest Hills/Rego Park): +1%
  • CB 7 / 109th Precinct (Flushing/College Point/Whitestone): +8%
  • CB 9 / 102nd Precinct (Kew Gardens/Richmond Hill/Woodhaven): +7%
  • CB 10 / 106th Precinct (Ozone Park/Howard Beach): +13%
  • CB 11 / 111th Precinct (Bayside/Douglaston/Auburndale): +1%
  • CB 12 / 103rd & 113th Precincts (Jamaica/S. Jamaica/Hollis): +5%
  • CB 13 / 105th Precinct (Queens Village/Glen Oaks/Laurelton): +9%

Enforcement. For the past two years, Make Queens Safer has been tracking tickets issued for four key moving violations that directly impact safety of vulnerable users of city streets: speeding, disobeying red signals, not giving right of way to pedestrians, and illegal cell phone use.  Overall, while enforcement of speeding, red light running, and not yielding to pedestrians remains significantly higher than pre-Vision Zero levels, tickets issued for cell phone use, an important contributor to distracted driving, remains sharply down.

Taken together, total enforcement actions for these four violations are virtually unchanged in Queens relative to 2013 levels.  Queens lags all of the other boroughs by this metric.  Total enforcement actions across these four categories are up 40% in the Bronx, 23% in Staten Island, 11% in Manhattan, and 6% in Brooklyn.  Across the city as a whole, they are up 18%.  These figures do not include tickets issued for automatic red light cameras or speed cameras.

Enforcement-2015-12

Several Queens neighborhoods are seeing significantly fewer traffic tickets written for these violations by their local police precincts relative to 2013 levels:

  • CB 1 / 114th Precinct (Astoria): -26%
  • CB 4 / 110th Precinct (Corona/Elmhurst): -30%
  • CB 7 / 109th Precinct (Flushing/College Point/Whitestone): -34%
  • CB 13 / 105th Precinct (Queens Village/Glen Oaks/Laurelton): -8%

It may be argued that this picture is distorted by the inclusion of cell phone violations, which are down sharply as an increasing number of drivers comply with the law by using hands-free devices.  If this is indeed the reason for the decline, the failure is in the law itself.  Research by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety shows that even hands-free devices impose a significant cognitive workload on drivers, distracting them for up to 27 seconds beyond their immediate interactions with the device.  The NYPD’s own crash statistics indicate that driver distraction is one of the leading factors contributing to crashes in Queens, and citations of driver distraction as a factor in Queens crashes have nearly doubled in the past few years.  So it may be the case that outdated law is rendering enforcement in this area less effective over time, but fundamentally driver distraction remains a serious, growing, and unaddressed problem.

Another limitation of the methodology used here is that it does not recognize the work by many precincts to conduct informational traffic stops.  These providing valuable opportunities to educate drivers about traffic safety without issuing tickets, but do not show up in the statistics.  The indicators here are not intended to capture the full scope of Vision Zero efforts, but they do provide useful insights into the scope of enforcement efforts, which are critical to changing the culture of driving in the city.

As part of the Vision Zero effort, NYPD received resources to hire additional traffic safety officers.   Based on the statistics presented here, there is little evidence that these greater workforce numbers are translating into greater enforcement on the ground.  NYPD should provide an accounting of how it is using its Vision Zero budget allocations.

Conclusions.  The following neighborhoods have demonstrated noteworthy progress by reducing traffic injuries/fatalities and (2) by continuing to step up enforcement relative to 2013 levels by more than the citywide average of 18%:

  • CB 2 / 108th Precinct (Woodside/Sunnyside)
  • CB 5 / 104th Precinct (Glendale/Ridgewood/Maspeth)
  • CB 8 / 107th Precinct (Fresh Meadows/Briarwood/Pomonok)

NYCDOT, NYPD, the community boards, and local elected officials are to be commended for their efforts in these areas, and encouraged to keep up their efforts to make continued progress.

Several other neighborhoods have lagged in taking steps commensurate with the scale of this crisis in public safety.  In particular, more aggressive action to implement Vision Zero is needed in the following communities:

  • CB 1 / 114th Precinct (Astoria) has seen a slight rise in overall traffic injuries, and a sharp reduction in traffic enforcement. While elected officials in this area are strongly supportive of traffic safety measures, the community board has often been in opposition.  As a result, NYCDOT’s prescriptions for this area have so far been weak.  The area especially needs measures to combat speeding and more intersections with safe pedestrian crossings on 21st Street and other key corridors.   One bright spot has been a 13% reduction in cyclist injuries in this area, despite an 11% rise in cyclist injuries boroughwide.
  • CB 4 / 110th Precinct (Corona/Elmhurst) has a sharp decline in enforcement against driver behaviors that put vulnerable road users at risk. It has also seen a mixed record of political support for street safety improvements.  With strong backing from city councilmembers, the DOT implemented one of its first “neighborhood slow zones” in Elmhurst.  But DOT’s proposed safety improvements on 111th Street have run into opposition from the Community Board’s entrenched transportation committee.
  • CB 7 / 109th Precinct (Flushing/College Point/Whitestone) is one of the worst hotspots for pedestrian injuries in Queens, and has seen some of the weakest Vision Zero implementation. The sidewalk widths on Main Street and Kissena Blvd. are completely inadequate to serve pedestrian flows safely, and require urgent action to widen them and manage the flow of traffic through the area, far beyond what NYCDOT has proposed so far.   Many intersections along this corridor are unsafe (especially those at 40th Road, 41st Avenue, and 41st Road), and require active management by NYPD until they can be re-engineered.   Meanwhile, the Community Board and the Department of City Planning continue to treat Downtown Flushing like a suburban edge city, packing in far more parking than the area needs or can safely handle.  They have created incredibly unsafe situations like the busy garage entrance to the Skyview Mall at 40th Road and Main Street.  Amid all of these problems, the 109th Precinct’s traffic safety enforcement actions have declined 34 percent since 2013, the worst record in Queens, and it has virtually no visible presence in Downtown Flushing beyond a booth at the corner of Main and Kissena.  Leadership is needed for progress to be made here.
  • CB 12 / 103rd & 113th Precincts (Jamaica/S. Jamaica/Hollis) sees more pedestrian injuries and total injuries than any other community board, but like Flushing, it is another area that has been neglected by the Vision Zero program. Its traffic injury rates and traffic enforcement have fluctuated, but remain close to unchanged since 2013.   Given the high pedestrian injury rates here, Jamaica also needs some real leadership to begin making progress on Vision Zero goals.
  • CB 13 / 105th Precinct (Queens Village/Glen Oaks/Laurelton), on the positive side, has cut its traffic fatalities in half since 2013. But by other measures it has also lagged in Vision Zero implementation.   Injuries are up, enforcement actions are down, and it is the only neighborhood in Queens that had fewer tickets issued across the four categories tracked here than people injured in traffic over the past year.

This analysis clearly raises more questions than it answers.  It does not explain why injury or fatality rates are rising or falling in specific areas, or why enforcement patterns appear to be changing in certain ways.   But these are important questions, and the people entrusted with making the streets safer – the police precincts, the Department of Transportation, and the Community Boards – should begin attempting to answer them in earnest over the next year.  The de Blasio Administration’s Vision Zero initiative has been characterized by a highly data-driven approach, and it is time for the city to start shining a brighter analytical light on where it appears to be working and where greater efforts are needed.

Survey on traffic safety awareness at Queens schools

We’ve assembled a survey on school safety around schools in Queens. Please participate and distribute this survey to Queens families. It doesn’t matter if your kid attends school outside of Queens, or if it’s a private school, Pre-K program or high school.

This survey will help guide our advocacy and recommend changes to the school safety environment, via elected officials, the Department of Transportation and the Department of Education. Already, we are learning that school safety agents are often at risk, though officially, they are not charged with traffic safety in their job description!

Fill our our traffic survey here.

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Thanks for your participation!