The Bronx Helpers set out to get a stop sign. They won 17 blocks of safer streets.
The Mt. Eden neighborhood was one of 13 neighborhoods selected as a 20 mph slow zone this week, and one of only four slated for installation this year. The successful push for a safer speed limit and the speed humps to enforce it came from the Helpers, an after-school organization that has been tackling pedestrian safety issues in the neighborhood for three years.
The group began in 2009 by fighting for a stop sign at the corner of 172nd and Townsend, gathering over 1,000 signatures on a petition. After three years, they finally succeeded in bringing safety improvements to the corner, when DOT daylighted the intersection to improve visibility for drivers and pedestrians.
With one victory under their belts, the Helpers set their sights on a bigger target: a slow zone to improve safety across their entire neighborhood. These young activists, clearly effective agents of social change, won that too.
In a story published yesterday, the Daily News’ Daniel Beekman talked to a few of the Bronx Helpers about their victory. Reading their reactions is a great way to start your weekend:
“I feel happy and proud,” said Deomar Suarez, 12. “We worked really hard. We just kept trying and trying. We sent letters and made calls. We didn’t give up.”
“I’m really surprised,” said Rafael Gonzalez, 12. “I never know I could do something so big. I feel great about it.”