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Photo by Suzanne Monteverdi/QNS
Photo by Suzanne Monteverdi/QNS
Students stand up for safer pedestrian conditions in areas surrounding schools.

Students, parents and politicians rallied Friday afternoon in Flushing for “School Safety for All,” supporting a package of bills aimed at making the city’s streets safer for all students to cross.

“It is time to have every school in the city of New York designated a safe slow zone for our children,” Councilman Paul Vallone said at the rally on Nov. 18 in the J.H.S. playground.

The legislation, which was written by Vallone, was drafted in response to two recent tragic incidents outside of J.H.S. 185 and J.H.S. 194 involving students being hit by vehicles — one which left an 11-year-old boy critically injured.

The three bills would require school safety slow zones at all elementary and middle schools in the city, reduce speed limits to a maximum of 20 miles per hour and reexamine every existing school slow zone to determine if any further appropriate safety measures are necessary, including enhanced signage, speed bumps and additional crossing guards.

“We’ve got to be safe going to school; we should feel that the city wants us to be safe,” eighth-grade student Angela Sierra said. “The city should look out for us.”

Another bill by Vallone would require that the DOT install at least 100 pedestrian countdown signals at intersections adjacent to schools and parks every year.

“It is time to get all of these pieces in place. It sounds so simple but it still hasn’t happened. So that’s why we push with this legislation,” Vallone said.

A petition written by parents calling for more crossing guards at the school and other middle schools throughout the city also circulated at the rally.

“I commend Council member Vallone for introducing this legislation and making sure that the Department of Transportation (DOT) doesn’t have the leeway to reject a speed bump, doesn’t have the leeway to reject a schools slow zone,” state Senator Tony Avella said. “No child should ever be injured when going to school or coming back home.”

Councilman Barry Grodenchik and Assemblywoman Nily Rozic were also in attendance to show their support for the legislation.

Previously, Vallone secured a slow zone for J.H.S. 185 and was able to have the DOT agree to convert 21st Road and 21st Avenue surrounding P.S. 184 to one-way streets per the school’s request.

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