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Last Weekend of Summer Marked by Child’s Death

1:17 PM EDT on September 4, 2007

The city's public schools are back in session today, and students, parents and staff at P.S. 24 in Sunset Park should have a safer intersection to contend with at 38th St. and Fourth Ave., near a BQE off-ramp, following a simple signal timing adjustment.

christian.JPGThe Daily News reports:

After months of community pressure, city Department of Transportation officials promised Brooklyn News the traffic-light timing would be adjusted over the weekend ... with an increased interval allowing pedestrians more time to cross the street.

"A little call from a reporter never hurt anything," said Principal Christina Fuentes who was notified by Brooklyn News late last week - not the DOT - that the light would be adjusted.

A third-grader was hit by a car and injured near the school last spring, prompting parents and others in the neighborhood to seek safety improvements -- along with Transportation Alternatives, which has consistently cited signal timing as an easy and effective means of reducing pedestrian injuries and deaths.

Transportation Alternatives has requested safety measures for other schools along dangerous Third and Fourth Aves., said TA official Brooke DuBose.

More than 30 pedestrians have been killed along the avenues since 1995 - including six children since 2004, according to TA figures.

Meanwhile, in Bushwick, a 7-year-old who was looking forward to starting first grade today was run down by two vehicles on Sunday as he crossed Bleecker Street with his mother and 8-year-old brother. Christian Acteopan died after being hit by a Mitsubishi Eclipse, which fled the scene, and a second vehicle traveling behind. The driver of the Eclipse was found and charged with leaving the scene of an accident; the second driver stayed at the scene and was not charged.

Acteopan's death comes less than a week after the unveiling of the heart-rending monument to three children killed by motorists on Third Avenue. The event included an announcement that DOT will be making long-awaited pedestrian safety improvements to intersections throughout Downtown Brooklyn.

Photo: New York Post

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