Tuesday’s Headlines: School Zones Don’t Have to be Danger Zones Edition

Students navigate busy street traffic at the corner of East Fordham Road and Webster Avenue in the Bronx, New York on May 9, 2022. Photo: Bess Adler
Students navigate busy street traffic at the corner of East Fordham Road and Webster Avenue in the Bronx, New York on May 9, 2022. Photo: Bess Adler

The big story today is carnage around New York City public schools. Our investigative reporter Jesse Coburn dropped the results of a six-month investigation into roadways around city school buildings and found that our kids are far more endangered than any of us parents thought.

And they’re endangered at the very time when they need to be kept safe: At morning arrival and afternoon dropoff.

We won’t waste time restating all of Coburn’s findings — how school students arrive at and leave from buildings on dangerous roads, how students at schools with majority Black and brown populations are even more endangered, and how little the city has done to keep cars from injuring our most vulnerable road users — but one stat really stood out for all of us: Drivers crash nearly 50 times, and injure a dozen people, near city schools on the average school day. That’s a crash every 29 minutes and an injury every two hours.

That’s why we, Transportation Alternatives, Open Plans and so many other advocates have been demanding that the city departments of Education and Transportation get together and simply bar cars from roadways around schools. During the pandemic, a few schools took advantage of Covid-era government flexibility to close off their streets from car drivers, but only 40 such “school streets” remain.

What if all 1,000 schools had quiet, safe streets around them? Well, kids would not only be safe, but could be … kids. Check out this Streetfilm of how they do it in Barcelona:

And in London:

The point is, it shouldn’t be so hard to keep cars away from kids. Roadways around schools should not be chaotic nightmares of stress and violence. And 24 kids should not have died on their way to or from school in the past decade. That’s on us. And it must stop.

OK, off the soapbox. Here’s the news from a slow Monday:

  • Nicole Gelinas suggests that the latest subway killing will drive down ridership again as more and more New Yorkers (well, the privileged ones) keep working from home (NY Post). Meanwhile, Mayor Adams responded to the killing by sending more cops underground (NYDN, NY Post, amNY).
  • Here’s a bit of history: The last two street phone booths have been removed (and our old man editor was telling old phone call stories all day). Many outlets — including the Daily News, amNY and Gothamist — covered the photo op, but The Hell Gate went negative.
  • The Post will literally do anything to blame President Biden for everything. This time, the Tabloid of Wreckage took a random tweet from journalist Sydney Pereira pointing out the high price of illegal nutcrackers and turned it into a slam on Bidenomics. Sorry, Post, but nutcrackers have always been more expensive in Prospect Park than in the Rockaways.
  • So much for the subway mask mandate. (The City)
  • Remember the Harlem power broker who was arrested, but then released, for dooring a cyclist? Well, former Assembly Member Keith Wright is now suing the city for wrongful arrest. (Patch)
  • Finally, our friends who are trying to get the city to fix Third Avenue in Manhattan have released a new video:

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG