After 58-year-old Matthew Jensen, a teacher at Greenpoint’s PS 110, was killed in a hit and run collision on May 18th at the intersection of McGuinness Boulevard and Bayard Street, outraged community members have initiated a rallying cry to #MakeMcGuinnessSafe.
#MakeMcGuinnessSafe is a twitter hashtag used by the grieving Greenpoint community after NYC Assemblymember Emily Gallagher lead a rally on Thursday, May 27th, in McGolrick Park to support pedestrian and cyclist safety on McGuinness Blvd.
Mayor de Blasio attended the rally and pledged to take immediate action and prioritize a redesign of what is essentially a small highway in the middle of a residential neighborhood.
Other rally participants included students from Public School 110 where Jensen taught. These young community members were forced to learn a life lesson unnecessarily young when their beloved teacher was taken away from them. The tears and faces of the grieving students were too much for Greenpoint neighbors to bear, but some took solace in the fact that real change was promised by de Blasio.
Gallagher thanked the mayor on Twitter: “…we can hardly believe it. We are finally going to bring change to McGuinness Boulevard. Thank you @NYCMayor.” Followers also thanked Gallagher for her hard work on the matter.
Local activist Noel Hidalgo tweeted, “Thank you AM @EmilyAssembly for convincing @NYCMayor @BilldeBlasio to prioritize a redesign of McGuinness Blvd & budget funds to make it happen ASAP! #MakeMcguinnessSafe.”
Gallagher is not alone in highlighting this issue in the neighborhood. Brooklyn State Senator, Julia Salazar said “Over the past few days, I’ve received more than 300 emails from our neighbors in support of redesigning McGuinness Blvd., a notoriously unsafe road… implementing a plan to transform McGuinness is how we can honor Matthew Jensen’s memory.”
The community stands behind Salazar’s comments. Kristina Naplatarski wrote, “Redesign McGuinness Boulevard now!! Generations of residents have known that McGuinness Blvd is dangerous, and at times, deadly.”
Actress Piper Perabo added: ”McGuiness Boulevard is one of the most dangerous corridors in Brooklyn. We are calling on De Blasio to commit to a comprehensive redesign to #MakeMcGuinnessSafe,”
Another Twitter user, Alan Baglia, wrote, “as a novice rider of these Greenpoint routes, I was excited to try Pulaski to West St. to Williamsburg Bridge routes.” He goes on to say, “that commuters should have to pick safe routes over direct routes is a policy failure.”