Rockland County NY – Two days after a driver mowed down four members of a Monsey family as they walked along the side of a main roadway, local officials will be meeting with local and state officials to discuss expediting safety improvements throughout the area.
As previously reported VIN News (http://bit.ly/2tZw6Qv), 62 year old Albert Gonzalez struck a mother and her three children as they walked down Route 59 near Robert Pitt Drive. All four were seriously injured and Gomez was charged on multiple counts in the accident.
Town of Ramapo Interim Supervisor Yitzy Ullman arranged said that a Thursday meeting with high level officials will address safety issues and will hopefully prioritize Route 59 safety, reported The Journal News (http://lohud.us/2tZzQ4O). The meeting will include members of the Town Board, the Ramapo Police Department, officials from the New York State Department of Transportation, representatives from Governor Cuomo’s office and county representatives.
Several elected officials have rallied to the cause, using the accident as a call to action for much needed safety improvements on the heavily traveled state road.
Standing at the accident scene, County Legislator Aron Wieder told VIN News that he had feared for his own family members when he first learned of the accident, because like so many others, they walk to stores in the area.
As development has continued to grow at a rapid pace in the Town of Ramapo, Route 59 has seen a significant increase in both vehicular and pedestrian traffic. There are few sidewalks in the local shopping district and traffic jams have fast become a fact of life for Monsey residents.
State Senator David Carlucci announced in a Facebook post today that he has asked the New York State Department of Transportation to begin modifications to Route 59 immediately instead of waiting until next summer.
Those changes will include 3,000 feet of new sidewalks, some of which will be located in the area where the accident took place, improvements to existing sidewalks which are in need of maintenance and installing curb cuts to accommodate those pushing baby strollers and those in wheelchairs. Carlucci also called for traffic lights to be synchronized along most of the length of 14 mile long Route 59 which extends from Suffern till the Hudson River in order to alleviate traffic congestion.
Assemblywoman Ellen Jaffee announced her plans to meet with the Department of Transportation and to review the existing Hudson Transit Link Program to make sure that sidewalks have been included in the plans.
A previously scheduled safety enforcement program was held today in the Town of Ramapo, with the Ramapo Police Department working in conjunction with several state agencies to educate both drivers and pedestrians on safety. The campaign included an emphasis on teaching pedestrians to obey traffic signals and ticketing drivers who fail to yield to pedestrians in several designated crosswalks that have a high incidence of pedestrian accidents.
Ullman said on Tuesday that the crash appears to have been related to road rage, with Gomez allegedly getting angry at a car service driver who he believed cut him off.
“He got upset and threw something at the cab,” Ullman told The Journal News (http://lohud.us/2tZQ2TI). “He then drove on the right shoulder to pass him. He didn’t see the family.”
Detective Sergeant Brian Corbett of the Ramapo Police Department said that a three month old baby boy who was being pushed in a stroller at the time of the accident had undergone emergency surgery on Tuesday at Westchester County Medical Center. His mother and two sisters remain hospitalized as well.