Photo via facebook.com/BaysideHills
Area in front of P.S. 376 in Bayside

Two Queens lawmakers announced that the intersection near a Bayside public school will soon be safer for students.

On Monday, Councilman Paul Vallone received word from the Department of Transportation (DOT) that the agency will install a traffic signal in front of P.S. 376 at the intersection of 48th Avenue and 211th Street. Prior to the news, Vallone along with Assemblywoman Nily Rozic and members of the P.S. 376 community had embarked on months-long advocacy for more traffic safety in the area.

Vallone’s advocacy for traffic calming measures began before the school opened in September 2017. The councilman wrote multiple letters to DOT and took a tour of the school site with the city agency.

“After asking the Department of Transportation to reevaluate this issue and requesting the addition of traffic signals at 48th Avenue and 211th Street, I am pleased to hear that DOT will install traffic treatments at this location,” said Vallone. “Collaboration with Principal Kang, the school’s PTA and the DOT was a critical part of implementing these positive changes. The safety of our children always comes first, and I thank the DOT for their responsiveness to the concerns of the community.”

Over the winter, school community members gathered over 200 petition signatures in support for increased safety improvements at the Bayside Hills school. Vallone delivered the signatures to DOT and co-authored a letter with Rozic calling on the agency to conduct a traffic study during drop-off and pick-up hours to determine the feasibility of installing traffic safety measures.

“The wellbeing of our students is paramount and every effort must be taken to ensure their safety at all times, but especially near and around schools,” said Rozic. “I’m gratified that the Department of Transportation has agreed to add traffic signals and safety treatments at 48th Avenue and 211th Street — the intersection surrounding P.S. 376. I would also like to acknowledge the efforts of Principal Kang and the school’s PTA.”

In September 2017, Vallone collaborated with the school’s Principal Clara Kang and DOT to install signage bringing down the area’s speed limit from 25 to 20 miles per hour.

“We are pleased to work with the elected officials and the school community to install the new traffic signals in front of P.S. 376,” said DOT Queens Borough Commissioner Nicole Garcia. “As this school continues to grow, the signals coupled with new high-visibility crosswalks will provide clear, designated crossing time for pedestrians, making it easier and safer for everyone, especially the young students.”

P.S. 376 PTA Co-President Carin Bail highlighted the lack of safety signals or crosswalks at the January 2018 Bayside Hills Civic Association (BHCA) meeting, though she has been an advocate of traffic safety since the school first opened.

“On behalf of the PS 376 PTA, we are elated and comforted knowing that this project was approved,” said PTA Co-President Carin Bail. “It shows the continued commitment of everyone in the community for the safety and well-being of our children. Many thanks and appreciation go to members of the P.S. 376 PTA, Councilman Vallone’s office, Assemblywoman Rozic’s office, members of the Queens NYCDOT Team, the Bayside Hills Civic Association, Community Board 11, CDEC26, NYPD, and the parents and administrators of the P.S. 376 community, all of whom made this project possible.”

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