Pols want de Blasio to make North Brooklyn a top Vision Zero priority

March 5, 2014 By Paula Katinas Brooklyn Daily Eagle
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The death of a 21-year-old woman who was hit by a city bus in Williamsburg is spurring calls for the de Blasio Administration to install safety measures on the streets of that neighborhood as well as other North Brooklyn communities.

Marisol Martinez, a nursing student at Hunter College, was struck and killed by a Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) bus at the corner of Union and Meeker Avenues early Saturday morning, DNA Info reported.

“She was my inspiration in life,” said Martinez’s 15-year-old sister Gissell Martinez told DNA Info.

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In the wake of Martinez’s tragic death, council members Stephen Levin (D-Greenpoint-Williamsburg) and Antonio Reynoso (Bushwick-Williamsburg) called on Mayor Bill de Blasio to make North Brooklyn a top priority for the implementation of Vision Zero, the mayor’s plan to eliminate traffic deaths on New York City streets.

Both Levin and Reynoso noted that a recent analysis by the group I Quant NY found that Williamsburg led the city in traffic-related deaths in 2013.

“I am deeply saddened by this tragedy and my thoughts and prayers go out to the family of Marisol Martinez. Tragedies like this one are preventable and we must take meaningful action now to achieve the goals of Vision Zero in communities like North Brooklyn and throughout New York City,” Levin said.

Vision Zero is a multi-agency effort organized by de Blasio in January to come up with ways to eliminate pedestrian deaths in the city within 10 years. A task force put together by the mayor that was made up of representatives from various city agencies issued a list of recommendations on Feb. 15. The multi-pronged effort will include enhanced enforcement of traffic violations and redesigning dangerous intersections to prioritize pedestrian and cyclist safety.

Levin and Reynoso and Levin requested that the administration work closely with them to bring safety interventions to their communities as soon as possible.

The two lawmakers are also calling for the city to conduct a comprehensive transportation study in the Community Board One area of North Brooklyn.

“It should not take a tragedy to get the city to pay attention; we should be taking a proactive approach that prevents these incidents from happening at all. I look forward to working with the administration to make North Brooklyn and all of my district safer for everyone,” Reynoso said.

In another development, Levin and Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez (D-Washington Heights) said they are introducing a resolution calling on the New York State Legislature to lower the speed limit on New York City streets to 20 miles per hour. The resolution also calls on the legislature to give the City Council the authority to impose different speed limits in the city.

New York State law currently sets 30 miles per hour as the speed limit in New York City unless otherwise noted.

“The data is conclusive: slower speeds decrease the probability that someone will be seriously injured or killed in a crash,” Levin said.

“Speed kills, plain and simple,” said Rodriguez said.

“The 30 mph speed limit we have now is dangerously high and won’t get us to Vision Zero,” said Paul Steely White, Executive Director of Transportation Alternatives. “Slower speeds give drivers time to react when something unexpected happens, and even if there is a crash, it’s less likely to cause death or serious injury.”

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