By Naeisha Rose
Last year, a student from PS 50 on 101st Street in Jamaica was hit by a car. He’s doing fine now, but rather than let that incident become a reccurring nightmare for parents and students, officials at the school decided to act.
In cooperation with the city Department of Transportation’s Office of Safety Education & Outreach, Groundswell Community Mural Project and the Sutphin Boulevard. BID, fifth-graders from PS 50 participated in an art installation project called the Traffic Safety Banner Residency Program.
The school is located at 143-26 101st St“Sutphin Boulevard. was chosen because it is a high-crash corridor and one that thre DOT has focused on in the Pedestrian Safety Action Plan for Queens, so we want to focus messaging on slower, safer driving,” said Alana Morales, a DOT spokeswoman.
Not only did the students design a safety banner, but they also were a part of a safety issue seminar where they had to learn about their neighborhood’s surrounding.
Dolores Orr, PS 50’s secretary, helped to initiate the program, acting as a liaison between the school and different agencies like the DOT.
“They really became educated,” Orr said. “They actually took them out to walk around the neighborhood and look around at the different signs, [and the kids would say] ‘I didn’t realize the signs were here,’ because they walk around blindly to what is around them.”
One of the students in the mural project was Renita Gobin, 11.
“I felt happy because we were able to expand our creativity,” Gobin said. “We learned what the different signs were. We learned what yellow, brown and green meant. Yellow meant caution.”
Gobin’s teacher, Monique Holmes, was excited to see how well the students worked on the banner as a team.
“The students were able to work collaboratively on the sign,” Holmes said. “They started off with sketches and now they can’t wait to see the finished product.”
While Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Vision Zero initiative to reduce safety accidents and fatalities has not taken hold in the area, Orr hopes the banner installation will make an impact.
“I don’t think there is a change as yet [in terms of car accidents], but that is why they are excited about the banner bringing attention that there is a school there and that we should always be safe,” Orr said.
The unveiling of the students’ safety banner is set for Friday at 9:30 a.m. at 95-14 Sutphin Blvd. at Jamaica near City Councilman Ruben Wills’ (D-Jamaica) office. Wills was expected to attend the event.
Reach reporter Naeisha Rose by e-mail at nrose