Next steps toward Kensington/Windsor Terrace Street Safety

Next steps toward Kensington/Windsor Terrace Street Safety

Last week, many of us joined memorial services for Mohammad Naiem Uddin, who was killed in a hit-and-run incident at E. 7th Street & Caton Avenue. As our community came together for the Uddin family (you can make a contribution to support the family, organized by the PS 130 PTA), the call for action was clear: we must do all we can to make sure this does not happen again.

I’m writing to let you know the steps we are taking – to honor Naiem’s memory – toward safer streets in Kensington/Windsor Terrace and beyond:

Community Meeting with NYC Department of Transportation: I’ve arranged a Community Meeting with the NYC Department of Transportation (including Commissioner Polly Trottenberg) on January 8th at 6:30 pm at PS 130 (70 Ocean Parkway) to discuss the steps that the City will take to make streets safer, along that stretch of Caton Avenue and more broadly in Kensington and Windsor Terrace.  

Several weeks before Naiem’s death, we sent this letter to DOT, identifying the need for improvements at East 7th and Caton (where a new school is being built that will open in September 2015) and nearby. The letter came from several meetings with K/WT residents working for safer streets, and from parents who will be walking new routes to school. At the meeting on January 8th, DOT will present their plans to move forward in light of the new school, our letter, and Naiem’s tragic death.

You can RSVP to the meeting here.

Insuring justice and accountability for the legal system: Of course, nothing will ever completely heal the broken hearts of the Uddin family. But accountability for the driver – who failed to yield (Naiem was in the crosswalk, with the light) and who left the scene, after getting out of the car – is required. The unfortunately reality is that in the vast majority of cases where drivers hit, kill, or seriously injury pedestrians, nothing happens at all.

Last week, together with Mohammad Uddin’s father and family members, I met with Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson. DA Thompson promised us that his office is moving swiftly to conduct a thorough and rigorous investigation of the incident which claimed young Naiem’s life.

The District Attorney spoke with real compassion for the families of crash victims and I know that he is committed to insuring justice and accountability in cases like Naiem’s where death or serious injury is the result of collision.

Community organizing for safer streets:  I am encouraged by the thoughtful and passionate community organizing work in which so many of our neighbors have participated. We have seen months of hard work by Windsor Terrace Safe Streets who have identified, through a survey of over 500 neighbors, the most pressing street safety issues. If you’d like to get involved with Windsor Terrace Safe Streets, you can contact the organizers at Windsorterracesafety [at] gmail [dot] com. In the wake of Naiem’s death, the need to spur change spread to include neighbors in Kensington, and an additional group was formed, KWT Safe Streets. As we have seen, this energy and work will need to continue for the long term as we are still working to reach our goal of Vision Zero. These efforts will continue to earn my support in pressing for much needed change on our streets.

Students touched by Naiem's death (including some who also knew Sammy Cohen-Eckstein and Joie Sellers, two other former MS 51 students killed in traffic crashes) are forming a Youth Council to help tackle street safety concerns. The Youth Council will be working with Transportation Alternatives, Families for Safe Streets, the principal of MS 51, and the Education and Outreach Division of the Department of Transportation. If you'd like to get involved with this effort, contact Vicki Sell in my office, at (718) 499-1090 or vsell [at] council [dot] nyc [dot] gov

I look forward to seeing you at the meeting in January and working closely with the Department of Transportation to develop the street safety plan our community needs.