BY TRONE DOWD
The students of PS 50 in Jamaica have done their part to make the busy streets along Sutphin Boulevard a little safer.
As part of the city’s Traffic Safety Banner Residency Program—a project approved by the city Department of Transportation—and Councilman Ruben Wills (D-Jamaica), fifth graders from the Talfourd Lawn Elementary School learned about the importance of road and pedestrian safety and incorporated their newfound knowledge into a work of art that will remind commuters traveling along the busy Southeast Queens corridor to travel safely.
Students took part in a total of 10 sessions that gave them “a better perspective, meaning and understanding of traffic safety,” according to a DOT educator Lee Eastmond.
“Each program gears them up [for] what they need to know as far as the dos and don’ts of being a pedestrian or a bicyclist or a passenger in a vehicle,” Eastmond said. “They do it through communication as well as art.”
The students also had a chance to visit the DOT sign shop in Maspeth on a field trip, seeing first-hand how borough traffic signs are created.
At the end of the sessions, students work with a visual artist and create a banner that encapsulates all that they have learned. PS 50’s banner was officially unveiled and installed on Friday and was met with applause from the community.
The project is a joint effort by the DOT’s Office of Safety Education and Outreach, Groundswell Community Mural Project and local business improvement districts. The program engages New York City youths between the ages of 10 and 14 to advocate for safe environments in the area around their schools as well as other busy sections of the city. The program is part of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Vision Zero plan, which aims to reduce traffic related injuries and fatalities across the city.
On Sutphin, a total of 12 banners will be installed by the DOT and Sutphin Boulevard BID. The students hope that the signs raise traffic safety awareness, help prevent crashes and reduce injuries near their school.
Glenn Greenidge, chairman of the Sutphin Boulevard BID and a former student of PS 50, said that he was proud to see students get so much out of the program.
“You are our future,” Greenidge said to the students. “What you have done is contribute to the safety of this neighborhood. You have made an impact. These banners mean something. It means people’s lives are going to be saved.”
Wills said that he was also inspired to see young people taking up such an important cause.
“PS 50 has always been special in our community,” Wills said. “To see you guys here and taking on this kind of engagement is incredible. We thank you and we want to tell you to keep it up. ”