PS 173 community to take safety pledge in memory of Flushing girl killed by SUV

By Alex Robinson

Hundreds of students, parents and teachers will take a safety pledge at PS 173 Friday to commemorate the memory of Allison Liao, a 3-year-old girl who police say was struck and killed by a car in downtown Flushing in October.

Elected officials, Department of Transportation officials and members of advocacy group Make Queens Safer will also attend the school’s assembly to take the pledge, which will encourage students to be safety conscious when they get in a car. The pledge is part of the city’s Vision Zero initiative, aimed at eradicating reckless driving and lowering the city’s ever increasing number of traffic fatalities and injures.

“It’s really heartening to see DOT and the school doing so much in Allison’s memory and to prevent more injuries from traffic violence. It means a lot to us,” said Allison’s mother, Amy Tam-Liao.

Allison was crossing the street at the corner of Main Street and Cherry Avenue in Flushing in broad day light while holding her grandmother’s hand when the NYPD says an SUV struck her.

Since her daughter’s death, Tam-Liao, along with her husband, His-Pei, started Families for Safe Streets and has made multiple trips to Albany to advocate for the issue.

“I just want the parents to take the pledge seriously,” she said. “The parents shouldn’t think it can’t happen to them because it happened to us. Every other day there is something in the newspaper about somebody getting injured or dying. The statistics are horrifying. More people are being killed by vehicles than guns.”

The area surrounding the Fresh Meadows’ school, at 174-10 67th Ave., where Allison’s brother, Preston, is a student, has itself become a concern for parents as double parked drivers have recently caused hazards for children crossing the street, parents said.

The safety assembly and pledge will take place at 1:10 p.m. Friday in the school’s auditorium.

Reach reporter Alex Robinson by e-mail at arobinson@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4566.