STAR OF BROOKLYN: Maureen Landers

COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT: Maureen Landers is a founder of Bay Ridge Advocates Keeping Everyone Safe (BRAKES), an organization comprised of Ridgeites who are interested in keeping pedestrians, cyclists and drivers safe.

Landers was inspired to form the alliance after a scary experience on Fourth Avenue. Landers was crossing 78th Street towards Fifth Avenue in April, 2009, pushing an empty stroller when she was struck by a car, despite the fact that she was crossing with the light, inside the crosswalk.

She went to the Community Board 10 meeting following the incident, determined to make Bay Ridge a safer place for herself, as well as her children.

Based on the experience of Landers and other community members, BRAKES aims to shed light on concerns regarding speeding, illegal U turns, and lack of concern for pedestrians in general.

The community board partnered with BRAKES in conducting research to look for particularly troubled spots in the neighborhood, and brought their findings to the Department of Transportation. Landers is currently working with BRAKES to push for implementation of the new Fourth Avenue Redesign Plan, in hopes of creating a safer neighborhood for her two children.

“I find it difficult to educate my children in this neighborhood, because many traffic laws are not enforced,” said Landers, “Usually you would say to your son, ‘stop at the light, make sure you have the right of way, and cross in the crosswalk.’ Now, you have to say ‘Wait for everyone to make their right hand turns, and that no one is speeding in reverse down the block to get a parking spot,’” said Landers.

Landers is also involved in P.S. 127’s Parent Teacher Association. She is a founding member of The Garden Committee, and has also established an enrichment committee where they focus on how to enhance enrichment that is offered to public system through music and art. Landers also started a book club, and is additionally a Learning Leader, enabling her to have one-on-one time with students.

PERSONAL LIFE: Landers grew up in Lindenhurst, Long Island, and earned her degree in English from SUNY Albany. After college, Landers relocated to Cobble Hill, Manhattan, Park Slope, and finally landed in Bay Ridge, where she has lived for the past seven years. She is married with a 10-year-old son, Max, and an eight-year-old daughter, Leila.

CAREER: Landers has been the co-owner of Landers Madden Public Relations, a PR company that deals with business-to-business PR, for the past 13 years.

BIGGEST CHALLENGE: “My biggest challenge is creating a dialogue that people can participate in, and that will result in progress,” said Landers, “Unfortunately, there’s a lot of extreme viewpoints that don’t allow for rational discussion. There’s no middle ground, and so there’s not a lot of healthy debate. We have to cut through the extremism.”

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