At its meeting last night, Community Board 3’s transportation committee recommended that a stretch of Delancey Street be co-named for Dashane Santana, a 12 year old girl who died in a fatal car accident near Delancey and Clinton streets last January. Santana’s grandmother, Teresa Pedroza, presented more than 300 signed petitions in support of the measure, which she hopes will honor her granddaughter’s memory and further raise awareness about traffic patterns that endanger pedestrians.
This was Pedroza’s second visit to the committee; at a meeting in May, she presented approximately 150 copies of her petition, signed by friends, supporters, and local residents. While committee members sympathized with their cause, they urged Pedroza to collect more signatures from residents in the area immediately surrounding the site of the accident.
According to committee chair David Crane, co-naming has happened so often on the LES in recent years that board members have established a loose standard to insure that residents on a street that may be co-named are happy with the proposed change. In this case, the committee suggested that Pedroza collect 300 signatures from people living in the immediate area to demonstrate support for the co-naming. “Rather than us saying no to a petition,” said Crane, “we said let’s have the community tell us what they want.”
Evidently the community has done so, as Pedroza presented a thick stack of signed petitions to the Committee last night. Crane indicated the number of petitions clearly exceeded the suggested amount. “This is a lot of signatures,” he said, lifting the stack. “This is a really large amount.”
Using some of the language of the petition directly, the Committee then wrote a recommendation that the stretch of Delancey Street be co-named for Dashane Santana, noting that her death had spurred community leaders to change the design of the dangerous intersection. In the wake of Santana’s death, the Department of Transportation introduced plans to reduce the numbers of lanes of traffic at the intersection, extend the amount of time for pedestrians to cross the street, and make other safety-related changes. Construction on the new design began on Tuesday.
Committee member Vaylateena Jones spoke up to suggest the committee’s recommendation specifically note that Santana’s death had forced the city “to take action.” “Let’s be real,” she said, “We all knew that intersection was horrible. This accident forced people to actually do something about it.”
Now that the committee has recommended the co-naming to the full Community Board, the board will vote on the matter on June 26th. If passed, the co-naming will then go before the City Council for approval. Crane said he anticipated the Community Board would easily recommend the co-naming, telling Pedroza, “this won’t be something that is controversial.”
Pedroza also presented signatures for a second petition to the committee, this one recommending that a crossing guard be placed at the intersection to insure pedestrian safety. Crane and Community Board District Manager Susan Stetzer, who was present at the meeting, said that crossing guards fall under the purview of the Police Department. They said that they hoped to use the signatures to demonstrate the community’s position on the issue to the Police Department and suggested State Senator Daniel Squadron might be able to aid them in this effort.
If we’re going to be renaming streets for people who got hit by cars, soon every street will have a new name.
What about the scores of other beautiful lives that were extinguished, young and old, whose lives came to a bitter end crossing Delancey Street as well? Where are the streets with their names on it? And what happens to the next person that inevitably gets killed crossing Delancey street. I think this whole idea is foolish posturing. Local politicians will go along with this because they have no backbone and will not want to risk offending the hispanic community by taking a stand on principle. There are many true heroes who die everyday in this city that don’t get streets named after them.
As part of the DOT’s overdue “improvements”, my suggestion to honor the memory of all those who lost their lives with possibly a cobblestone promenade with the names of those who lost their lives inscribed on each. Perhaps even in the proposed lowline park. I still think this would be unnecessary, but at least this honors the memory of everyone.
Look nothing is going to change on Delancey Street until peoples attitudes change. How many times have I seen people running against the light to get to the other side of the street and just narrowly missed being hit by a car. I often use Delancey Street as both a motorist and a pedestrian and if people do not obey the traffic lights and signs then more people are going to get into accidents. These changes are just going to make the traffic conditions worse especially on the Williamsburg Bridge which is usually backed up with cars coming into Manhattan.
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