Skip to Content
Streetsblog New York City home
Streetsblog New York City home
Log In
Families for Safe Streets

Monday’s Headlines: Safety First Edition

Parents in Queens are demanding safe streets. Just like parents in Brooklyn. And Manhattan. And the Bronx. And even Staten Island. Yet road deaths are up 30 percent this year. Plus other news.

Photo: Clarence Eckerson Jr.|

Raul Ampuero and Sen. Jessica Ramos (center behind banner) led Friday’s rally.

The big story is Queens: On Friday, a huge throng of parents, pols and activists marched through East Elmhurst to demand safe streets (as parents have been demanding again and again and again) after the latest spate of crashes and fatalities.

Clarence Eckerson Jr. was there and posted this must-watch video:

The rally came just over a week after a reckless and impatient driver ran over 8-year-old Bayron Palomino Arroyo at the intersection of 31st Avenue and 100th Street as he walked home from school with his mother and brother.

Borough President Donovan Richards, Assembly Members Catalina Cruz, Ron Kim, Steve Raga and Jessica Gonzalez-Rojas, and state Sen. Jessica Ramos were all on hand, joining many parents who had been victimized in the past by reckless drivers.

One of whom was Raul Ampuero, whose 9-year-old son Giovanni was killed in 2018 by a driver who avoided punishment spoke. When Ampuero spoke, one could not help but be reminded how many times activists have been forced to march, chant, scream and cry to get even basic improvements in road design. In the end, all the tears and outrage have gotten us a minuscule number of car-light streets, a patchwork system of protected bike lanes, virtually no pedestrianized zones and cars literally everywhere.

And the driver who cops say killed Bayron wasn't even asked to surrender his license as he awaits a fairly low-level charge of criminally negligent homicide. It's odd that Queens DA Melinda Katz, who was not at Friday's rally, didn't demand that driver Jose Barcia surrender his license; he'd been found guilty on four prior occasions of driving without a valid license.

The topic of reckless drivers is on a lot of minds right now, especially in Queens, where 21 people have already been killed in road violence, according to the NYPD. That's up from 18 over the same period last year.

Road fatalities are up 30 percent citywide so far this year. Total injuries from crashes are up almost 5 percent compared to last year, with 10,095 people injured so far this year — roughly 131 per day. In Queens, the injuries are up 13 percent this year compared to the same period last year.

On Monday, Richards will announce that he'll allocate $1.5 million in capital funding for street safety improvements in the borough. He'll also call for the state to pass Sammy's Law, which would allow New York City to set its own speed limit.

Also needed in Albany is a rule change that would allow the Department of Motor Vehicles to count speed- and red-light camera tickets against a driver's license. Over the weekend, amNY once again showed the need for that simple measure, so that repeat reckless drivers would at least have their driving privileges revoked.

Mourners have done all they can do. It's up to Albany and City Hall to relieve their pain. And the NYPD could also play a role, as a poster on Reddit showed over the weekend:

In other news:

  • Speaking of road violence, a hip-hop dance legend is recovering from a hit-and-run crash last year in the Bronx. (Rolling Stone)
  • Former federal transit man Larry Penner looks at the Biden bucks winners and losers in New York City. (Mass Transit)
  • The Times's Ana Ley had a nicely balanced piece about the broader issues of stopping subway crime. It's not all about more cops.
  • The Post is so eager to amplify the voices of anyone opposed to congestion pricing, yet also so incapable of centering Black voices that even when the tabloid covered the recent opposition to the toll by a Staten Island NAACP, it still quoted four white guys before finally letting Jasmine Robinson, acting president of the island branch, speak. Her arguments were as bad as the others'.
  • The Post is also pushing a toll exemption for farmers.
  • Pete Davidson and Colin Jost's ferry weird entertainment venue idea apparently is still a go. (NY Post)
  • If top NYPD officials would ride the subway more often, they wouldn't have to handout puff pieces about their experience to amNY.
  • Tracks, the Penn Station bar that closed in 2019, will reopen at Grand Central Madison. But can it possibly be the same?! (Gothamist)
  • And, finally, someone (OK, it was us!) really needed to tell John Q. that there's an easy way to get from Bay Ridge to Downtown Brooklyn:

Stay in touch

Sign up for our free newsletter

More from Streetsblog New York City

SUV Driver Kills Girl, 3, in Harlem, Wounds Mom And Young Brothers

The girl's death marks another grim entry into a crisis of pedestrian traffic deaths this year.

July 12, 2024

Moped and E-Bike Safety Legislation Becomes State Law

Retailers must register mopeds at the point of sale, in addition to giving new owners safety information, under new legislation signed by Gov. Hochul on Thursday.

July 12, 2024

Roadway Dining May See Dramatic Decline Under Eric Adams As Deadline Looms

Fewer than two dozen restaurants are in the pipeline for roadside seating, according to public records.

July 12, 2024

Opinion: Congestion Pricing Is A Compromise

Alternatives paths to cut congestion and pollution and fund the MTA make congestion tolls look like a cheap parlor trick.

July 12, 2024

Friday’s Headlines: Department of Victim Blaming Edition

Traffic deaths in the city are on pace to reach their highest number since at least 2013 — and DOT is reportedly blaming "jaywalking." Plus more news.

July 12, 2024
See all posts