Following the recent deaths of two schoolchildren killed in traffic accidents, two state lawmakers – one from Queens and the other from Staten Island) – are sponsoring legislation to increase the number of school crossing guards.
Assemblyman Michael DenDekker (D-Jackson Heights) and state Sen. Diane Savino (D-Staten Island) have joined forces to co-author a bill that would require a school crossing guard be placed on each corner of a city block on which there is a public or private school with students in kindergarten through eighth grade. It would also require additional crossing guards on the opposite corners of these intersections if the roadway has four or more traffic lanes.
“We cannot expect children to cross high-traffic roadways with no supervision from a crossing guard,” DenDekker said. “I want to protect the children of New York City and put an end to completely preventable accidents, such as those that caused the deaths of two children in my district last year.”
In December 2012, 11-year-old Miguel Torres was struck and killed by a hit-and-run truck driver while crossing 80th Street and Northern Boulevard in Jackson Heights. Torres had been walking to school at the time of his death and was just steps away from IS 145 when he was killed.
Almost exactly one year later, 8-year-old Noshat Nahian was hit and killed at 61st Street and Northern Boulevard in Woodside while he was walking with his sister to PS 152.
Both Torres and Nahian were crossing the street unattended.
“This legislation furthers my commitment to our children,” Savino said. “Crossing guards play an essential role in keeping students safe while walking to school, and children also look to them for security on dangerous city streets.”
In 2013, 173 pedestrians were killed in traffic-related accidents in New York City. Currently, there are no requirements for additional crossing guards in high-traffic areas bordering schools.
By Anna Gustafson