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Politics

Gianaris, Gonzalez-Rojas Call on City DOT to Install Traffic Signal after Child’s Death

February 28, 2023

ASTORIA – New York State Senate Deputy Leader Michael Gianaris and Assembly Member Jessica Gonzalez-Rojas are calling on the New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) to install a new traffic signal on Newtown Road in Astoria, including at the intersection with 45th Street. In a February 23 letter to DOT Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez, the legislators cite the recent tragic death of 7-year-old Dolma Rinchen Naadhun, who was killed in the area by a reckless driver.

“Any child’s death is tragic, but it’s even more heartbreaking when it could be prevented,” said Senate Deputy Leader Michael Gianaris. “The saddest part is how many times we have said this before. The DOT needs to make preventing pedestrian deaths a priority – with a traffic signal here and comprehensive improvements across western Queens.”

“No parent should suffer the death of their child. This is even more tragic because these deaths are preventable. I echo the demand of Dolma’s father, who is only asking that the New York City Department of Transportation install a stop light at the corner of Newtown Road and 45th Street in Astoria,” said Assembly Member Jessica González-Rojas. “I also call for our state legislature to pass Sammy’s Law, which would allow New York City to establish its speed limits. We must do more, for Dolma. Inaction only permits more senseless loss.”

Dolma Rinchen Naadhun was tragically killed on February 17. As the legislators state in their letter, she was not the first person tragically killed in western Queens in preventable car crashes. Senator Gianaris and Assembly Member Gonzalez-Rojas also ask the DOT to broaden their approach to preventing these tragedies and investigate more pedestrian friendly infrastructure.

The elected officials’ full letter is included below.

February 26, 2023

Ydanis Rodriguez, Commissioner

New York City Department of Transportation

55 Water Street

New York, New York 10041

Dear Commissioner Rodriguez,

Traffic fatalities are too common and preventable across the City of New York, including right here in our shared communities of western Queens. Our community is tired of mourning the loss of neighbors who have died simply because they were walking down the street. Many of these senseless deaths could be avoided with simple improvements to infrastructure – changes that are barely noticeable to most people but will save lives.

The most heartbreaking of these deaths happen to children. Most recently, seven-year-old Dolma Rinchen Naadhun was killed at the intersection of 45th Street and Newtown Road — a death that the mere presence of a traffic signal may have prevented. Her young life, and her precocious spirit, could still walk among us today if not for the decisions of your agency over time. Dolma is far from the first child killed by traffic violence in western Queens – but with your leadership, she could be the last.

Search your heart, and your agency’s statistics: Dolma and many slain children like her could be saved by infrastructure improvements – such as improved signaling. We are urging you to place a signal at this intersection immediately, and broaden your work to find better solutions to end the epidemic of pedestrian deaths across the City of New York.

Sincerely,

Senate Deputy Leader Michael Gianaris

Assembly Member Jessica Gonzalez-Rojas

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