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  • Mamaroneck Observer

Double Tragedy Propels Calls for Action

by Cindy Goldstein -

 

Last week marked the end of the school year with parents, teachers and children looking forward to a summer without homework, essays or getting up early.  Instead, Thursday, June 20th was a day of unspeakable horror – not just for a mother and her kindergartener – but for the entire school and Mamaroneck community.  The tragic incident brought calls from all parts of the community to toughen up our traffic safety measures.

 

Ryan Buck, Chairman of the volunteer Traffic Commission, presented an update (see HERE) at the June 24th Board of Trustee (BOT) Work session showing the high crash rates in the Village from 2017 - 2021.  He stated that the frequency of pedestrian deaths per 100,000 is up to 9 times greater in the Village than in New York City.  He also stated that the jurisdictional issues present many challenges as some roads are controlled by the Village with the major corridors under the control of either NYS or Westchester County. 

 

Buck invited the community to come together to get things done and highlighted recent Commission actions and initiatives including a grant submission for a Comprehensive Safety Action Plan, an enhanced crosswalk at Walter’s Hot Dogs and Mamaroneck High School, a study at the Old White Plains Road five way intersection and launching the Vision Zero Initiative – a strategy to eliminate all traffic fatalities and severe injuries while increasing safe, healthy, equitable mobility for all.

 

County Legislator Catherine Parker was in attendance for both meetings and offered her condolences at the Work Session.  County Executive George Latimer and she have reached out to all key personnel at the County to work collaboratively – the County, Village and Mamaroneck Schools – to expedite improvements to the safety measures around the Mamaroneck Avenue School.  Mayor Sharon Torres reported that the County was coming to review the area and make a recommendation which will be subject to change once school is back in session in September.

 

Several speakers addressed the BOT during the Regular Session during the public comment period, and many were emotional.  The BOT was presented with a petition with 4,500 signatures asking for pedestrian safety measures calling for increased staffing and funding.  Other speakers attributed increases in traffic and impatient drivers on overdevelopment and the lack of parking throughout the Village.  Many called for more crossing guards especially at problematic intersections where children frequently walk to school.

 

Robert Stark, member of the Traffic Commission and also a crossing guard, made an impassioned plea not just for more people to step up to become crossing guards but for everyone to drive more responsibly.  “The biggest way to make our streets safer is for all of us to drive smarter, be more considerate.  We need to do better, and we can do better, and we have to do better.”



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