August 22, 2014
BP ADAMS AND SCHOOL CROSSING GUARDS UNION CALL ATTENTION TO UNSAFE TRAFFIC CONDITIONS FOR THE ELDERLY AT EVENT HONORING BROOKLYN’S CENTENARIANS
BROOKLYN, NY, August 22, 2014: Yesterday, Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams held a press conference in response to a recent study by the Tri-State Transportation Campaign that cited Brooklyn as the borough with the most traffic-related deaths among the elderly, with a total of more than 200 senior citizen fatalities from 2003-2012. Shaun D. Francois, President, and Donald Nesbit, Executive Vice President, of District Council 37-Local 372, the union representing the City’s crossing guards, appeared alongside Borough President Adams at the event, which preceded Adams’ inaugural “Senior Day Celebration” at Brooklyn Borough Hall. They called on the City to use school crossing guards to assist seniors as well as students crossing the street. They also requested that the New York State Department of Transportation expand the Safe Seniors Program, a pilot program on Long Island that includes the use of brighter street lights, longer crossing times at intersections, countdown signals, and higher visibility pavement markings.
“It was troubling for us to discover that Brooklyn is one of the most unsafe areas for seniors when it comes to vehicular traffic,” said Borough President Adams. “Today, with the leadership of President Shaun Francois and Executive Vice President Donald Nesbit of D.C. 37-Local 372, we are asking the City to create a joint initiative to utilize school crossing guards to complement our existing programs of safe senior transit. With ‘Senior Day,’ we are gathering seniors from across the borough to honor 25 centenarians. To truly honor them, we must create a safe environment so that more of our elders can live to be 100 and beyond.”
According to a City Council testimonial from February, as of January of this year, the NYPD employs approximately 2,100 crossing guards, with 200 vacancies, rounding out to 2,300 total crossing guards for the 8.5 million residents of the City. The borough of Brooklyn currently has 376 guards at NYPD Brooklyn North and 507 at NYPD Brooklyn South.
“School crossing guards are vital to New York City; we help over 2,000 kids cross the street over five boroughs,” said D.C. 37-Local 372 President Shaun Francois. “We help seniors cross the street; we help kids cross these streets along with their parents, their aunts, and their grandparents. These are the people we care for everyday so we need to make sure they are safe when dealing with traffic.”
Borough President Adams stated that he and the crossing guards union will send a letter presenting their recommendations to Mayor Bill de Blasio and NYPD Commissioner William Bratton. “With the Mayor’s initiatives for Vision Zero, we focused on slowing down drivers; we cannot remove our seniors from the vision of protecting our streets and our citizens from vehicle traffic,” said Borough President Adams. “We are going to send a letter to the police commissioner and the mayor asking them to make this vision a reality.”
In addition to the day’s press conference, visitors to the “Senior Day Celebration” participated in a variety of activities, such as a senior spa, a musical performance by singer Linwood Peel of the Drifters, and dance lessons from Sherry Morton. Sponsors for the “Senior Day Celebration” included Century Medical & Dental Center, HealthFirst, Kings County Hospital Center, Senior Umbrella Network of Brooklyn, Village Care/Village Care Max, and WellCare, with Barbara’s Flower Shop, Debbie’s Sweet Treats and Project Renewal/Comfort Foods serving as partners for the event. The culinary students from Comfort Foods and volunteers from Clothed With Love took part in the event ensuring that seniors were comfortable and recognized accordingly.
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