NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The number of recent pedestrian deaths in Queens is unacceptable, a New York lawmaker says.
U.S. Rep. Joe Crowley, D-Queens, told WCBS 880’s Jim Smith both drivers and pedestrians are at fault for the uptick in fatalities and said he’s exploring if the federal government can help with improved traffic lights, crosswalks and intersections.
“Drivers today are not as conscious of the fact that there are people walking on the streets,” Crowley said.
He added that he believes an increased number of distractions for both motorists and pedestrians — namely cellphones — is partly to blame.
“I do think there are too many distractions in this modern world,” Crowley said.
“In the greatest city in the world, we shouldn’t have to fear the street when we’re on our feet.”
The soaring number of pedestrian fatalities across New York City has been a top concern for new Mayor Bill de Blasio. Last month, he announced his “Vision Zero” initiative, which created a task force that will develop strategies aimed at eliminating deadly traffic accidents.
The city also has been using traffic cameras to issue more tickets and assigning more police officers to strictly enforce driver hazards to pedestrian safety — such as using cellphones while driving and ignoring signs or lights — while planning to expand the number of 20-mph zones in the five boroughs.
On Monday, a woman was struck and killed by an MTA bus at 74th Street and Broadway in Elmhurst.
Crowley also cited the death of 8-year-old Noshat Nahian, who was killed in December while crossing a busy Woodside intersection on his way to school.
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