Photo Courtesy of Assemblywoman Pheffer Amato’s Office
Scholars Academy Senior Daniella Ciniglio on Monday joined the call for adequate signage, properly painted crosswalks, directional signals to improve the flow of traffic, and more crossing guards at Rockaway Beach Boulevard and Beach 102nd Street.
Pheffer Amato, Addabbo pledge to rally support for bill
that would boost crossing-guard coverage
By Michael V. Cusenza
Students, parents, community leaders, and elected officials on Monday called on the City Department of Transportation to immediately install safety enhancements at the intersection of Rockaway Beach Boulevard and Beach 102nd Street in Rockaway Beach in time for the start of the 2017-2018 school year.
Assemblywoman Stacey Pheffer Amato (D-Howard Beach), State Sen. Joe Addabbo, Jr. (D-Howard Beach), and City Councilman Eric Ulrich (R-Ozone Park) represent what they have characterized as a “poorly-marked, poorly-organized intersection that hundreds of students walk across every day,” and urged the administration to make it “ready for school, which starts in two weeks.”
The officials, students and parents highlighted the need for adequate signage, properly painted crosswalks, directional signals to improve the flow of traffic, and expanded crossing guard coverage. Pheffer Amato and Addabbo also talked about a bill they introduced earlier this year that would bring crossing guard levels in the blocks around high schools up to the expanded level already provided for streets around K – 8 schools. The legislation would require crossing guards to be placed on the corners of every city block that hosts a public or private high school during arrival and dismissal.
“The DOT needs to make simple adjustments, like repainting crosswalks and installing proper signs and lights. There are eight schools, including five high schools, within a two-block radius of here,” Pheffer Amato said. “We’re standing up together, today, to call attention to a particularly bad intersection, with a particularly high demand, which the DOT should prioritize. We’re also requesting that the NYPD add crossing guards to this particular school zone. On a citywide and statewide basis, myself and Senator Addabbo have introduced a bill in the legislature to mandate that students are guarded, no matter their age.”
According to Addabbo, in 2015 there were approximately 2,300 crossing guard posts throughout the five boroughs, although vacancies were reported to be as high as 200, he noted. Since then, the City and Local 372, the crossing guard union, have come to an agreement to raise pay for crossing guards and make other reforms to draw interested candidates to the field.
“During the academic year, the lives of well over one million City children hang in the balance as students travel back and forth to school on local streets. Sadly, in recent years, a number of innocent children were struck and killed on their way to or from class, and we need to take all steps necessary to prevent similar tragedies,” Addabbo added. “The safety of our children must be paramount, which is why Stacey and I are advocating for state legislation to increase the number of school crossing guards near all of our City schools. This measure would not only increase the safety of our children, but would increase credible job opportunities.”