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Zero Vision: Locals say millennials at risk at Millennium and other high schools due to lack of signage

student-crossing-signBY COLIN MIXSON

Community leaders in Lower Manhattan are calling on the city to increase traffic safety around Millennium High School after a 16-year-old student was hit crossing Broad St. by a cab driver on Jan. 17.

Millennium, along with four other high schools Downtown, have little or no signage alerting drivers to the presence of students on nearby streets, and locals, with the help of state Sen. Daniel Squadron, are working to arrange a tour of the area around the school for Department of Transportation officials to make the case for additional safety measures, according to the vice chair of Community Board 1.

“Apparently there are no DOT school signs around Millennium, and I’m not sure if there are around any high schools downtown,” said Paul Hovitz, who also co-chairs CB1’s Youth and Education Committee. “There’s a tremendous amount of traffic, and you would think that part of Vision Zero should be to properly alert drivers when they’re near a school.”

The 16-year-old Millennium student was crossing Broad St. near S. William St by the school’s entrance that morning., when she was suddenly struck by the cab driver, who spinelessly fled the scene, cops said. 

The injured girl was rushed to New York Downtown Hospital, where she was treated for non-life-threatening injuries, according to a letter sent out by Millennium High School principle Colin McEvoy.

McEvoy urged parents to speak with their children in light of the accident, and press them to be more cautious, especially around S. Williams St., when crossing streets.

“I respectfully remind all members of the school community to exercise caution when traveling to and from school, particularly on S. William St.,” McEvoy wrote in the letter sent to Millennium families. “I encourage you to have a conversation in your household about staying aware and safe while commuting.”

Both CB1 and Squadron’s office reached out to DOT Friday morning to arrange a tour of Millennium, and are hoping to hear back from the city’s transit agency with a date by Monday, according Hovtiz and a spokesman for Squadron. 

The activists are hopeful that the tour will result in new signage, which seems like a commonsense solution, Hovitz said.

Hovitz is also looking to see more no parking signs installed near the school entrance, where cars frequently park and idle illegally, making it difficult for pedestrians to see oncoming traffic, he said.

“The fact that high schools don’t get crossing guards should require the transportation department to be even more cautious to have proper signage by our schools,” said the CB1 vice chair.

State Sen. Daniel Squadron said that the city has a responsibility to make sure students can get to school safely.

“Getting to and from school safely must be a given for students everywhere,” Squadron said. “My office will be working with CB1, DOT, Millennium, and other local schools to continue to improve street safety around our schools.”

The local activists will focus on the Broad St. school where the young girl was hit, but other Downtown schools — such as Richard Green High School, which shares a building with Lower Manhattan Middle and also lacks signage — will also likely be discussed, said Hovitz.

“Certainly the focus is Millennium at this point. Obviously this is where we had a near-catastrophe,” Hovitz said. “At the same time, I’m asking them to review the other high schools Downtown.”

The DOT said that it was willing to work with locals on the issue.
“DOT is open to discussing safety concerns near Millennium High School,” said a department spokesman. “Regarding school slow zone signs, DOT will assess this location for the necessary signage upon receipt of a formal request.”

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