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01/26/2024
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A state lawmaker hit by a driver in Queens

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Source: Isaac N. unsplash.com

A state lawmaker hit by a driver in Queens earlier this month is using the accident to fuel calls for safer streets, according to CBS New York

A recent vehicular encounter in Queens has become a catalyst for a state legislator to advocate for enhanced street safety measures. Recounting the incident, Assemblymember Jessica González-Rojas vividly recalls the jarring sound of screeching brakes as she followed the walk signal across 78th Street in Jackson Heights, only to be struck by a left-turning car. Despite a broken wrist and lingering pain weeks later, González-Rojas considers herself fortunate to share her story.

This incident is not an isolated case in the community, with traffic-related incidents being an unfortunate norm. The urgency for change is emphasized by the tragic death of seven-year-old Dolma Naadhum in Astoria last year, and the alarming statistics of over 900 crashes involving pedestrians or cyclists in western Queens in 2023. Recognizing the escalating trend in traffic fatalities, González-Rojas, along with other city and state lawmakers, is throwing her support behind the comprehensive Western Queens Street Safety Plan.

This strategic proposal, designed as a roadmap for both the Department of Transportation and the state legislature, encompasses various measures aimed at reducing accidents like González-Rojas' and fostering a safer environment. Key elements include traffic calming in residential zones, bolstering infrastructure for pedestrians and cyclists, and implementing universal daylighting – the removal of parking spots adjacent to crosswalks to enhance visibility.

Advocates like Laura Shepard, Queens organizer for Transportation Alternatives, assert that the plan is not just beneficial for pedestrians and cyclists but for all road users. Highlighting the readiness of Astoria and other western Queens neighborhoods for such improvements, Shepard underscores the necessity of prioritizing safer streets.

Assemblymember González-Rojas, now taking the cause to Albany, emphasizes the universal vulnerability to such incidents, even for those who are vigilant. Her personal experience serves as a poignant reminder of the pressing need for proactive measures to ensure the safety of all individuals navigating the streets.

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