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Traffic safety concerns spur Flushing rally after fatal crash

Photo courtesy of Councilman Peter Koo's office

The 109th Precinct held a demonstration with city, state and federal officials Monday afternoon to call for greater pedestrian and traffic safety after a hit-and-run fatality involving a casino bus in Flushing last week.

Deputy Inspector Thomas J. Conforti, the precinct’s commander, led the demonstration, which included Councilman Peter Koo, Congresswoman Grace Meng, state Senator Toby Stavisky and Assemblymen Michael Simanowitz and Ron Kim.

Sources said that officials at the 109th Precinct have been considering several changes to law enforcement practices since the crash, the second fatal one this month in downtown Flushing.

Possible changes include an increase in traffic tickets enforcing jaywalking laws, installing an increased number of traffic cameras in the area, and putting up metal barricades to discourage pedestrians from crossing outside the crosswalk.

Councilman Koo said that while the city must do more to prevent these tragedies by regulating private buses and bus stops, it is also incumbent upon pedestrians to abide by the rules and regulations of the road.

“I implore pedestrians travelling in our community to obey the traffic signs, cross at the crosswalks and wait for the ‘walk’ signal,” Koo said. “Crossing out of the crosswalk or trying to beat the signal to save a few seconds is not worth your life.”

Senator Stavisky said that with automobile, pedestrian and public transportation traffic already creating so much congestion, having frequent stops for casino buses makes for even less of a safe environment.

“Too many times I find myself offering condolences to the family of a victim who was fatally struck by a motor vehicle. But more than that, it is incredibly frustrating,” she said. “Casino buses provide a service to many people in my district and around the city, but at certain intersections, they have become less of a convenience and more of a plague.”

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