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Board 11 asks DOT to expand Vision Zero banner program

Community Board 11, which is grappling with a shocking spate of pedestrian deaths on its streets in recent months, is asking for help from the Department of Transportation in spreading the city’s Vision Zero safety message.

The community board voted at its June 13 meeting to request that DOT erect banners on street lamp posts on heavily trafficked thoroughfares urging drivers and pedestrians to use extra caution when navigating roadways.

“We’ve had one too many fatalities,” Board 11 District Manager Marnee Elias-Pavia said at the meeting.

Specifically, Board 11 is asking DOT to post banners on streets that have been designated as Vision Safety Priority Corridors, roadways that the agency is giving special attention to with street re-designs, additional signage, pedestrian countdown clocks and the like.

The Vision Safety Priority Corridors in Board 11 include 86th Street, 18th Avenue and Bay Parkway.

Laurie Windsor, chairperson of the community board’s Transportation Committee, introduced the motion that was approved by a unanimous vote. “We suggest that DOT use banners to spread the Vision Zero message,” Windsor said.

Launched by Mayor Bill de Blasio in 2014, Vision Zero is an initiative by DOT to make streets safer for pedestrians. Its goal is to eliminate all traffic-related deaths and serious injuries by the year 2024.

Board 11 has seen a troubling series of fatal accidents involving pedestrians hit by cars. The community board covers parts of Bensonhurst, Bath Beach, Mapleton and Gravesend.

In the most recent incident, a 64-year-old man was struck and killed by a car on Cropsey Avenue near 16th Avenue on June 9. The victim, Faquan Li, was rushed to NYU Langone Hospital- Brooklyn, where he later died.

The rash of fatal incidents is causing Board 11 leaders to search for answers.

“I have the feeling that things are out of control out there,” Windsor told the Home Reporter. “I don’t think it’s just one thing. In some cases, the driver is speeding. But there are also cases where the pedestrian jumps out from between two parked cars. It does seem to me that people have no regard for traffic laws anymore.”

When asked if DOT would be willing to consider Board 11’s suggestion, a spokesperson told the Home Reporter that the agency has a similar initiative and pointed to the Vision Zero Traffic Safety Banner Residency Program. Under the program, students in Grades 5-8 design safety banners for DOT to post on street lights near the childrens’ schools.

Two Brooklyn schools, the Trey Whitfield School in East New York, and the Park Place Community Middle School in Park Slope, helped DOT officials unveil 24 new banners in May.

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