FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 3, 2006
MAYOR BLOOMBERG DISCUSSES MAKING THE TRIP TO SCHOOL SAFER FOR STUDENTS CITYWIDE THROUGH THE SAFE ROUTES TO SCHOOLS INITIATIVE
The following is the text of Mayor Bloomberg's weekly radio address as prepared for delivery on 1010 WINS News Radio for Sunday, December 3, 2006
"Good Morning. This is Mayor Mike Bloomberg.
"As any parent can tell you, there are few things more nerve-racking than watching your kids head off to school each morning along the city's busy streets and sidewalks. Today's world has its fair share of dangers - and, try as we might, we can't always be there to protect the ones we love. As the father of two daughters, I understand this as well as anyone.
"But today's parents - and all New Yorkers - can now take more comfort because of a bold and far-reaching school safety initiative that's currently underway. Last week, we released, for the first time ever, traffic safety maps for each of the nearly 1,500 public, private, and parochial elementary and middle schools in the city. These comprehensive maps, which identify important features like traffic signals, stop signs, speed bumps, and crosswalks, are going to help thousands of New York families plot the safest possible routes to and from their schools.
"The maps will be distributed to parents and students by each of the schools over the coming months. They also will be posted on the Department of Transportation's website at www.nyc.gov.
"As part of this traffic safety initiative, we are also repainting and upgrading crosswalks and crosswalk signs at many of these middle and elementary schools so that they are easier to see for both drivers and pedestrians. We've also begun additional improvements at 135 'priority' schools, which we've found to have the highest accident rates in the city. This work includes installing new traffic signs, creating new crosswalks, building speed bumps, improving traffic signals, and establishing 'high-visibility' school crosswalks - the kind with 'ladder stripes' across the road.
"But that's not all. Starting next year, the City's Department of Transportation will embark on more substantial upgrades to ensure long-term safety around 32 of these priority schools. This work will include building new mid-street pedestrian islands, raising medians, and creating more sidewalk extensions at major intersections. These extensions reduce the distance a pedestrian must cross, and they also slow down vehicles by funneling traffic into one less lane.
"All together, it amounts to one of the largest traffic safety initiatives ever undertaken by an American city. And it will build on the tremendous accomplishments that our Department of Transportation has already made in improving traffic safety. In fact, over the past two years, the number of traffic fatalities in the five boroughs has dropped to its lowest level since we started keeping records back in 1910. And remember: that was at a time when most of the vehicles on the road were pulled by horses!
"Targeting traffic improvements in the areas around our schools is going to help further protect the youngest and most vulnerable pedestrians in our city - which means the next time parents send their kids off to school in the morning, they can all breathe a little easier.
"This is Mayor Mike Bloomberg. Thanks for listening, and have a safe and happy holiday season."
Stu Loeser (212) 788-2958
Listen to the radio address