WWW.QNS.COM RIDGEWOOD TIMES JUNE 4, 2020 13
BY COSTA CONSTANTINIDES
AND JULIE HUNTINGTON
As longtime residents of Queens,
we’re no strangers to dangerous
streets. Other boroughs have
foreboding corridors — Coney Island
Avenue in Brooklyn, Boston Road in the
Bronx, Canal Street in Manhattan, Hylan
Boulevard on Staten Island — but only
Queens has a street that everyone calls
the “Boulevard of Death.”
So it’s disheartening, but not surprising,
to see that the majority of the fatal
crashes that have taken place since New
York went on “pause” in mid-March have
been in Queens. And though it’s true that
the pandemic has brought down the total
number of cars on the road, the reduction
in traffic crashes has not been as
When we look at these recent fatal
crashes in Queens, it’s plain to see that
they could have been prevented. Last
month, a man was killed by an unlicensed
driver who ran a stop sign in
South Ozone Park. A week later, an offduty
NYPD officer was killed after he
was struck by a drag-racing driver. And
earlier this month, a man died after he
was thrown from his vehicle in a one-car
crash on Cross Island Parkway.
These aren’t accidents. They’re the
result of reckless behavior, and streets
that condone it. But we do so little to
prevent crashes. All too often, we don’t
see safety improvements on our streets
until after someone is killed in a crash.
If we’ve learned anything from this pandemic,
it’s that an ounce of prevention is
worth a pound — no, a ton — of cure. Just
as stay-at-home orders can save a life, so
too can safe street design.
Major crises have a way of bringing
out the best in people, and right now,
we’re seeing the general public mobilizing
for the greater good of public health.
During the last few months, we have
gradually changed our behavior to help
stop the spread of the coronavirus. First
we took up washing our hands for at least
20 seconds. Then social distancing. And
today, practically everyone is donning
face coverings in public.
We’re also seeing some good ideas coming
from city government, most notably
the move to set aside space on our streets
for social distancing-friendly walking,
and perhaps one day soon, eating and
drinking. Most New Yorkers don’t own
cars, so it’s only fair to create these
spaces — safe social distancing shouldn’t
be a privilege reserved for those who can
afford to drive. And if we do this right,
these open streets could help tilt the balance
on our streets away from cars, and
toward people. The last thing we need
coming out of this pandemic is another
outbreak of traffic deaths.
As the city begins to recover from the
pandemic, we must come away from this
crisis with a new regard for human life.
If any good comes from this, it should
be that we take better care of each other.
The pandemic has shown that our society
is, for the most part, willing to take
responsibility for one another through
the adoption of some simple behavior
changes. Are we just as willing to take
responsibility for one another on the
Constantinides represents District 22 in
the New York City Council and lives in Astoria.
Huntington is a member of Families
for Safe Streets and also lives in Astoria.
ATTENTION HEALTH CARE
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Our reporters want to speak with health care workers about what
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We want to tell their stories to show New York City their courage but
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“WHERE FLOWERS BLOOM, SO DOES HOPE.” (LADY BIRD JOHNSON)
PHOTO SUBMITTED BY LEANN BUGARIN
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We must take responsibility
for each other on the road, too