By ALFREDO ALVARADO
For three straight years New York City has seen a reduction in traffic fatalities, with 2016 being the safest-ever.
Aiming to make sure accidents continue to drop, Mayor Bill de Blasio has included $400 million in the proposed 2018 budget for the Vision Zero traffic enforcement program. The funds will used to improve street designs, lighting and add 300 School Crossing Guards.
De Blasio’s new budget will allow for the hiring of 100 School Crossing Guard supervisors and 200 additional part-time School Crossing Guards. With these additional positions, all schools will now have a School Crossing Guard.
A mobile replacement squad will also be created to make sure schools are covered in the event a SCG is absent on a particular day.
“Every school now will have a School Crossing Guard assigned to them, this is what we have been fighting for the last couple of years,” said Shaun Francois I, president of the Board of Education Employees Local 372, during the mayor’s budget announcement on Jan. 25 in Brooklyn.
Francois also noted that City Council members Brad Lander, Margaret S. Chin, Vincent Gentile and Vanessa L. Gibson, Chair of the Committee on Public Safety support for expanding the SCGs’ ranks, a key priority of Local 372.
The additional staff means Traffic Enforcement Agents and Police Officers, who occasionally fill in as crossing guards can now be redeployed to other duties.
“Vision Zero has already made a difference in saving lives,” said Mayor de Blasio. “But we must always do more.”