By Madina Toure

Borough elected officials, the city Department of Transportation and the 107th Precinct kicked off the third annual Vision Zero Education Week to inform drivers, bikers and pedestrians of street safety practices. The city Department of Transportation and the NYPD launched the third year of the Vision Zero Street Team collaborations in which DOT safety personnel team up with local precincts throughout New York City on a rotating basis to caution people against dangerous driving, including failing to yield to pedestrians.

Locations are chosen based on crash history and rates of pedestrians and motorists identified by the DOT and the NYPD.

“As part of our Vision Zero efforts that helped make last year the safest ever on city streets, motorists in Fresh Meadows are being reminded this week—by both our street teams and a great group of state and local elected officials—to drive more carefully,” DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg said.

One of those locations is the corner of Union Turnpike and Utopia Parkway in Hillcrest, where City Councilman Rory Lancman (D-Hillcrest), the 107th Precinct and the DOT held a news conference May 12.

According to Lancman, nine crashes took place at that intersection in 2014 and six in 2015.

Every year, roughly 4,000 New Yorkers are injured in traffic crashes, Lancman said.

During the Education Week, a Vision Zero Street Team of DOT safety personnel and the 107th Precinct have been handing out fliers and speaking with people at the intersection.

From Jan. 1, 2015 to March 1, 2016, there were two traffic fatalities in the 107th Precinct area as well as 723 injuries, the councilman said.

He said streetscapes have been redesigned, new laws have been imposed and there are lowered speed limits.

“Vision Zero has been very successful in reducing fatalities citywide, including at that corner (Hillcrest intersection), which is an extremely busy corner,” Lancman said.

Other attendees were state Sen. Leroy Comrie (D-Hollis); state Assemblyman Michael Simanowitz (D-Flushing); U.S. Rep. Grace Meng (D-Flushing); Kim Wiley-Schwartz, DOT’s assistant commissioner of education and outreach; Queens DOT Deputy Borough Commissioner Albert Silvestri; the DOT street team; and representatives from the NYPD and the 107th Precinct.

Reach reporter Madina Toure by e-mail at mtoure@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4566.

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