2018-02-07 / Political Page

Call On Dot To Provide Safe Play Space For LIC Schoolchildren


New York City Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer, joined by a representative from Assembly Member Catherine Nolan’s office, Queens Community Board 2, PS/IS 78 PTA, PS/IS 78 Principal Louis Pavone and members of the community called on DOT to provide a safe play space for Long Island City schoolchildren after its third denial of a playstreet application. New York City Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer, joined by a representative from Assembly Member Catherine Nolan’s office, Queens Community Board 2, PS/IS 78 PTA, PS/IS 78 Principal Louis Pavone and members of the community called on DOT to provide a safe play space for Long Island City schoolchildren after its third denial of a playstreet application. New York City Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer, a representative from Assembly Member Catherine Nolan’s office, Queens Community Board 2, PS/IS 78 PTA, PS/IS 78 Principal Louis Pavone and members of the Long Island City community called on DOT to provide a safe play space for Long Island City schoolchildren after its third denial of a playstreet application.

Without a playstreet, PS/IS 78 students will continue to have recess only twice a week because the small playground cannot adequately accommodate the school’s 700 students.

“Our students deserve play time,” said Council Member Van Bramer. “Kids need time to run, play and burn off energy. Not only is it beneficial to their physical health, but it helps them focus in the classroom as well. This partial, temporary street closure would not negatively impact our community and would improve quality of life for the students and families of PS/IS 78. I don’t understand why DOT has denied the playstreet application.”

In a statement, Assembly Member Nolan commented, “I am happy to join my colleague Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer in asking that the NYC Department of Transportation work with our community to find a solution, so our students can benefit from a playstreet.”

“The parent community at PS/IS 78 has been rallying together for 18 months in trying to secure a partial street closure for 1.5 hours each day,” said PS/IS 78 PTA co-President Genevieve Bernier. “The DOT has rejected our requests for the third time, with inconsistent explanations and their suggestion to have our children walk across Center Boulevard into our city and state parks, with no physical boundaries except water, is much more dangerous than the 1.5-hour road closure we seek.”

The request, originally filed in spring of 2017, calls for a street closure on 48th Avenue between Center Boulevard and 5th Street on school days, between 10:15 am and 12:30 pm. DOT denied the request again last week.

Because of the shortage of play space, the PTA pays $80,000 annually to a third party to walk some students to a play space off-site for recess. Not only is this a major expense, the travel time cuts into students’ play time leaving them with just 10 minutes or less.

Council Member Van Bramer urged DOT to reconsider the application or to work with the school and PTA to find a solution that provides play space for PS/IS 78 students.

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