Jackie Robinson’s image is now donning the parkway bearing his name.
In honor of Jackie Robinson Day, the city’s Department of Transportation unveiled new signage Thursday for the Jackie Robinson Parkway that includes a grayscale illustration of Robinson at bat in his number 42 Brooklyn Dodgers uniform. It’s the first time the parkway will feature the image of the sports legend and racial justice icon who broke the color line in Major League Baseball on April 15, 1947.
“[The sign] pays tribute both to a man and a legacy that is so important for all of us to be able to see as we continue on the road of our life of a person who was dedicated to the service and development of others and used the medium of sports and baseball to help transcend all of American society,” said David Robinson, Jackie Robinson’s son, at a Cypress Hills news conference alongside Della Britton Baeza, the president and CEO of the Jackie Robinson Foundation, and state Assemb. David Weprin of Queens.
“The Jackie Robinson Parkway begins here in Brooklyn and Queens,” David Robinson continued, “and yet the story of Jackie Robinson — my great grandmother, Jackie Robinson’s grandmother, was born a slave — so the road of Jackie Robinson’s life and the road of struggle and resistance and efforts towards development begins long before Brooklyn and Ebbets Field.”
Crews have already installed 25 of the new signs — either three feet by three feet, or two feet by two feet in size, depending on location. The city plans to replace all of the signs along the parkway with the new design, which features black lettering on a white background to more closely match the parkway signs out on Long Island. The current signs, green with white lettering, were first installed when the city renamed the highway after the Hall of Famer in 1997.
Polly Trottenberg, the city’s Department of Transportation commissioner, also announced a new Vision Zero campaign with ads to be displayed at Citi Field, including public service announcements featuring Mets players Jay Bruce, T.J. Rivera and Michael Conforto.
Trottenberg heralded the 2017 Vision Zero redesign at the scene of the news conference: the five-legged intersection where the parkway entrance meets East New York, Bushwick, Pennsylvania and Jamaica avenues. The crossing had been reworked to be more pedestrian-friendly, with new crosswalks and pedestrian signals.
Last year, the city released a report highlighting that pedestrian fatality rates are three times higher in high-poverty neighborhoods than in wealthy neighborhoods. Trottenberg said the Cypress Hills project was a “great example” of how the city is trying to address that disparity.
“We’ve discovered as we’ve done Vision Zero work throughout the city it’s resonated tremendously in neighborhoods all over the city. It’s one of the things I’ve really loved about it; black, white, rich, poor, you name it — people want safe streets,” Trottenberg said.
“And one of the things we’ve really tried to do with Vision Zero . . . is make sure we’re getting to every neighborhood: the ones that are calling us all the time and the ones that maybe aren’t calling us all the time,” Trottenberg continued, “and working with them to make sure we’re bringing the kind of safety improvements that every neighborhood deserves all over the city.”