On October 1st, Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer, alongside State Senator Michael Gianaris, Assemblywoman Marge Markey, Paul Steely White, Executive Director of Transportation Alternatives, Reverend Joshua Hollman of Christ Church and Child Center along with local residents, called on the Department of Transportation (DOT) to urgently install traffic safety measures throughout certain parts of Western Queens that experienced several traffic-related fatalities recently.
On the evening of September 28th, nineteen-year-old Luis Bravo was struck and killed in a hit-and-run accident near 58th Street and Broadway in Woodside. The vehicle in question was a dark-colored sedan that immediately fled the scene, making authorities be on the lookout for the suspect responsible for Mr. Bravo's untimely demise. Anyone with information about the crash is urged to either call NYPD's Crimestoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477), visit the Crimestoppers website, or text 274637 (CRIMES) and enter TIP577. This latest incident is just one out of five pedestrian accidents that have occurred within the past three months throughout Western Queens; four of these incidents resulted in fatalities.
“Yet another person has been killed here in Western Queens as a result of a vehicular collision,” said Council Member Van Bramer. “For over a year now the Department of Transportation has not done anything about motorists speeding along Broadway here in Woodside and unfortunately this inaction has resulted in another death. Every time a pedestrian is struck and dies as a result of a vehicular collision we will speak out against it. It is the Department of Transportation’s obligation to keep New Yorkers safe when it is obvious lives are at risk. Every death needs to be met with a forceful response that this is intolerable. Until DOT responds with actions that will make our communities safer I will continue to highlight areas throughout my district where we can save lives.”
As far back of March 2012, residents complained about motorists getting away with speeding along Broadway between 69th Street and Northern Boulevard. When DOT was notified of the complaints and urged to change the timing of the traffic lights, it responded with the following answer,"no signal timing changes are recommended at [that] time.”
Recently in Western Queens, another pedestrian was struck and killed by a driver in Long Island City. This accident occurred at the intersection of 27th Street and Queensboro Plaza, where a woman crossing the street was struck by a vehicle heading westbound towards Queensboro Bridge. This was the second accident along this busy corridor in under three months.
In response to this Council Member Van Bramer, along with State Senator Michael Gianaris, Melinda Katz, Democratic nominee for Queens Borough President, Noah Budnick, Deputy Director of Transportation Alternatives, Dominic Stiller, President of the Dutch Kills Civic Association, Dana Frankel, District Services Manager for the LIC Partnership, transportation advocates and local residents called upon DOT to implement the following safety measures alongside Queensboro Plaza:
- Extend pedestrian countdown clocks at crosswalks along Queensboro Plaza
- Install additional street signage that will make pedestrians aware of cycling lanes which commute along Queens Plaza North’s bike lanes
- Make Queensboro Plaza an essential focal point of the Department of Transportation’s multimillion dollar Western Queens Transportation Study
In other news, on September 25 Council Member Van Bramer joined students, parents, and the faculty of Sunnyside school P.S. 150 to commemorate the installation of its new educational garden. The garden, one of four new green spaces for Western Queens youth, was created in part by Greening Western Queens and The Horticultural Society of New York.
The new learning gardens feature perennial flowers and herbs, that would attract pollinators (butterflies, bees, and birds), and provides outdoor classrooms with tree stump seating. The new green space also offers a dry-creek bed with river rocks and underground rainwater storage with a hand-pump for students to access water. In addition students would also be provided with real-world educational workshops that would teach them skills in gardening, planting, maintenance and sustainability.
Finally on September 21, Council Member Van Bramer joined with members of the Ingenito family and local residents to honor the life of Jerry Ingenito in a street-naming ceremony on 38th Street in Sunnyside, Queens. Mr. Ingenito, who served as a coach at Saint Raphael's Catholic Youth Organization, Christ the King and Queens College, shaped the lives of hundreds of players, including Lamar Odom, Speedy Claxton, Derrick Phelps, and Khalid Reeves.
Just recently the Sunnyside/Woodside Boys and Girls Club named its summer basketball league after Mr. Ingenito at Woodside's St. Theresa School. Also Garden City's Bruns Summer basketball camp currently offers two scholarships in his name to eligible youth in Sunnyside. Ingenito was also founder and director of Cathedral High School's summer camp, which also offers now a scholarship to Sunnyside youth in his honor.