Bay Ridge

De Blasio supports Donovan pedestrian safety bill

Brooklyn rep’s legislation would provide money for bollards

October 18, 2017 By Paula Katinas Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Revelers celebrate the New Year as confetti flies over Times Square as seen from the Marriott Marquis on Jan. 1. Under a House bill sponsored by Brooklyn’s Dan Donovan and Manhattan’s Adriano Espaillat, cities would get federal funds to install pedestrian safety measures in heavy trafficked areas like Times Square. AP Photo/Mary Altaffer

Cities across the country would get federal funds to install safety bollards to protect pedestrians in heavily trafficked areas like New York’s Time Square if a bipartisan bill sponsored by a Brooklyn lawmaker wins approval.

U.S. Rep. Dan Donovan (R-C-Bay Ridge-Southwest Brooklyn-Staten Island) has introduced a bill with U.S. Rep. Adriano Espaillat (D-Upper Manhattan) that would provide federal funding to cities for the installation of safety bollards to help protect pedestrians in high trafficked areas like Times Square in an effort to prevent terrorist attacks such as the deadly incidents that took place in Charlottesville, Virginia and Barcelona, Spain earlier this year.    

Mayor Bill de Blasio is supporting the legislation.

“We applaud Congressman Espaillat and Congressman Donovan for their leadership on this critical safety issue. In New York City, our streets and sidewalks are safer because of the changes we have made as part of our Vision Zero program, but we are constantly improving and still have plenty of work left to do,” de Blasio stated.

Any funding would go toward safety measures being installed by the city’s Department of Transportation (DOT) and New York Police Department (NYPD), according to the mayor. 

“Pedestrian safety is becoming more of a national priority, and we welcome federal funding to help NYC DOT and NYPD make our high-traffic areas secure and safe for all New Yorkers,” de Blasio stated.

There have been shocking incidents in recent months involving cars or vans plowing into crowds of pedestrians, causing deaths and injuries.

In May, a driver sped through Times Square, killing one woman and injuring nearly two dozen people. A suspect allegedly plowed his car into a crowd of counter-protesters following a white nationalist rally, killing one woman, in Charlottesville in August. Also in August, suspects plowed a van into a large crowd on a Barcelona street, killing dozens.

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Bollards are large structures placed at street curbs to prevent a vehicle from mounting the sidewalk. 

Donovan and Espaillat are calling their bill the Stopping Threats on Pedestrians Act.

“Safety bollards save lives. That’s clear from the Times Square car crash earlier this year that would have been far more destructive but for the barriers. We should have more of them, which this commonsense bill will allow,” Donovan said in a statement.

Donovan said Police Commissioner James O’Neill told him that the bollards are an important safety feature in the effort to protect pedestrians. “I spoke to NYPD Commissioner O’Neill about this issue and he expressed the importance of these barriers to protecting our city. Congress can’t afford to wait for the next tragedy to pass this critical legislation,” Donovan added. 

“We have witnessed an increase in pedestrian injuries and fatalities as vehicles are increasingly being used as weapons to carry out attacks,” Espaillat said in a statement. “Our bill aims to support cities by providing necessary funding to install safety bollards as preventative measures to guide traffic, protect individuals, and potentially save lives.”

The bill has also been endorsed by the National Association of Counties. “Counties support the Stopping Threats on Pedestrians Act because it would help us strengthen safety measures along sidewalks and other pedestrian areas. In partnership with the federal government, this bill would enhance safety in our communities, potentially preventing vehicular attacks on residents,” said National Association of Counties Executive Director Matthew Chase.

 

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