A safer Queens

The push to make Queens streets safer for pedestrians has gotten stronger in recent months and real change may soon be on the horizon.

An 88-year-old woman who struck and killed a 17-year-old girl in June pleaded guilty to reckless endangerment in court last week and surrendered her driver’s license, according to Queens District Attorney Richard Brown.

The victim’s family applauded the guilty plea, but acknowledged that more has to be done to prevent further tragedy.

An online petition on change.org, titled “Urge New York State DMV to introduce retesting every two years once a driver turns 80,” has amassed more than 24,000 signatures and continues to garner more support.

There is no down side to have senior drivers retested once they reach a certain age. The purpose of such action would not be to take away seniors’ driver’s licenses, but rather ensure that their mental and physical condition still allows them to drive without putting other drivers and pedestrians at risk.

Meanwhile, a coalition of street safety advocates gathered at a Jackson Heights restaurant that sits on Northern Boulevard, which has seen four pedestrian fatalities in 2018 alone.

The activists started an online petition that has collected nearly 1,000 signatures and calls for a comprehensive redesign from the city Department of Transportation to transform the newly-dubbed “Boulevard of Death” from a dangerous thoroughfare to a safer roadway.

There’s too much at stake to do nothing. It’s clear change is needed. But how can we go about making those changes in Queens?

The fight for change has started with Queens residents who have personally had to endure the tragedy. That’s not enough. There needs to be a push from residents who have not necessarily dealt with devastation, because they are ultimately the majority.

Additionally, elected officials need to continue demanding the city Department of Transportation make roadways in the borough safer for everyone, drivers and pedestrians alike.

While the collective voice of the citizens can be heard the loudest, the elected officials are the ones responsible for bringing about change. It’s ultimately up to our borough’s lawmakers to make our roads safer. But they can’t do it alone.

There must be a collective effort to demand safety before another life is lost in a tragic accident on the roads of Queens. Every second we spend fighting will bring us one step closer to a solution.

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