Town hall addresses ped safety in Astoria
by jason Cohen
Mar 26, 2014 | 1329 views | 0 0 comments | 29 29 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Close to 200 people packed Bohemian Hall in Astoria last week to talk pedestrian safety with elected officials and new Department of Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg.

Councilman Costa Constantinides said when a person was killed five years ago on 21st Avenue while going to get cigarettes, it changed his views on pedestrian safety.

“That is when I first heard the phrase, 'Costa I don’t feel safe crossing the street to get milk,'” he said.

Congressman Joseph Crowley said he appreciates everything Mayor Bill de Blasio and his administration are doing to address pedestrian safety through the Vision Zero initiative.

“Lives should not be lost when crossing a street,” he said. “We need to do everything we can to reduce exposure to accidents.”

Trottenberg said making the roads safer is a top priority for her agency. The DOT has developed a plan that involves engaging in public dialogue, enforcement, and changing the public's mindset.

Dr. Kaushal Shah, who works in the emergency room at Elmhurst Hospital, said he sees pedestrian injuries every day, and it seems there are more of those emergency visits than people getting stabbed or shot.

“We need to do more to prevent accidents,” he said.

Astoria resident Chris Vanterpool said he and his three-year-old son James were nearly hit by a car three weeks ago while walking to school. They were okay, but it could have been worse. Now James is scared to walk to school, so they drive.

“He’s terrified of the street,” Vanterpool said.

Norm Sherman, who has lived on 21st Avenue for 50 years, said traffic has always been a problem, but it has gotten worse. Sherman said people drive extremely fast on his street.

“I’m very concerned about things in the community,” he said. “It’s a difficult problem to solve in a city that’s so large.”

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