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Meng, Koo push for pedestrian safety in downtown Flushing

Flushing leaders are taking steps to ensure pedestrians and drivers in downtown Flushing stay safe during the July 4 holiday weekend.

State Assemblywoman Grace Meng (D-Flushing) and City Councilman Peter Koo (R-Flushing) joined forces with the Downtown Flushing Business Improvement District Monday afternoon to announce an effort to emphasize to their constituents the importance of following traffic rules.

“The holiday is coming and we want to promote safety in downtown Flushing. It’s very crowded — lots of cars, lots of pedestrians .... That’s why we’re doing Pedestrian Safety Week,” Koo said. “Somehow New Yorkers have this particular nature where they don’t want to follow the signs.”

Tina Lee, a board member of the Flushing BID, said she recently told her 6-year-old daughter about crossing with the light and watching for oncoming traffic, but while she was driving to the Monday announcement, she witnessed an adult ignoring that same advice on a downtown Flushing street.

“It’s for your own safety to cross with the light and look before you walk, and it also helps with traffic,” Lee said. “So just wait a couple of seconds for the light to change.”

During the lead-up to Independence Day, the officials are distributing small American flags accompanied by colorful pamphlets reminding people in English, Chinese and Korean to “support red, white, and blue by following red, yellow and green.”

Dian Yu, executive director of the Flushing BID, identified three downtown Flushing “hot spots” where pedestrian safety most needs to be improved: the intersections of Main Street and 39th Avenue, Main and 40th Avenue and Main and Roosevelt Avenue.

“When we talk about traffic, what comes to your mind first is cars and buses. But I want to point out the issue of pedestrians,” Yu said. “When people don’t follow traffic lights and walking signs, it’s very dangerous and it also stops cars and buses, which causes a lot of traffic.”

Meng reiterated the need to increase awareness about traffic safety.

“Our office receives complaints all the time from pedestrians and drivers. People don’t necessarily know who has the right of way,” she said. “When crossing the street, even if you’re in a rush, you have to follow traffic rules.”

Reach reporter Connor Adams Sheets by e-mail at csheets@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4538.

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