Five years after New York City launched Vision Zero as a way to combat traffic fatalities, Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz and Councilman Andrew Cohen are celebrating finally securing a left turn signal for southbound Riverdale Avenue traffic looking to turn onto West 231st Street.
“With so many new buildings going up — including several schools — we have seen a marked increase in the amount of pedestrian traffic in recent years,” Dinowitz said, in a release.”This intersection has long been a problem, not only for pedestrians, but also for drivers who are tired of saying their prayers every time they want to turn left onto West 231st Street.”
Cohen, however, renewed the duo’s call on the city’s transportation department to study not just this part of Riverdale Avenue, but the entire corridor.
“This stretch of traffic has had over a dozen accidents ... since the beginning of the year, so more must be done,” the councilman said, in a release. “It is my hope that this area will have leading indicator lights, pedestrian islands, increased crosswalk times and more so that we can stop all these close-call situations.”
The New York Police Department has unveiled new and renovated special victims units throughout the city, including the center servicing the Bronx.
The facilities, according to police commissioner James O’Neill, were re-evaluated through the perspective of a “survivor-focused lens,” according to a release.
For the Bronx center, that means a larger child-friendly waiting area, more comfortable furniture, designated spacious interview rooms, and an on-site advocate through the advocacy group Safe Horizon.
The work was completed last April in the Bronx as well as in Brooklyn, with the Staten Island center set to be completed by the end of the year.
“My mission has been to create a victim-centered approach to sexual assault investigations from the survivor’s first encounter with police, and at each step through the investigation,” said Deputy Chief Judith Harrison, commanding officer of the NYPD’s special victims division, in a release.
“We have added investigators; ensured the highest-quality trauma-informed, empathy-based training — and a critical part of this work is creating welcoming facilities designed with the survivor in mind.”
The NYPD has increased staffing in its special victims division as well, lowering the average caseload per detective from more than 76 at the end of 2017, to just over 61 now.
The division now has 316 people on staff, including 264 police officers and detectives, with 52 support staff members.