By LOUIS FLORES
Ahmad Abu-Zayedeh's driver's license was suspended by an administrative law judge for the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles, Gothamist has reported.
The legal action to suspend Mr. Abu-Zayedeh's license followed activism on the part of the surviving family of Allison Liao, who at age three was run over and killed by Mr. Abu-Zahedeh in Flushing, Queens, on October 6, 2013.
Initially, Mr. Abu-Zayedeh was issued two summonses by the New York Police Department for the fatal accident, which also resulted in injuries to the young Miss Liao's grandmother, but those tickets were subsequently dismissed by the Department of Motor Vehicles. Later, the office of Queens District Attorney Richard Brown refused to file criminal charges against Mr. Abu-Zahedeh over the death of the young Miss Liao.
Mayor Bill de Blasio (D-New York City) has proclaimed his anti-traffic accident and fatality initiative, known as Vision Zero, a success in his first year in office. A city report about the effectiveness of the mayor's Vision Zero reforms did not address concerns about traffic in neither Flushing nor Jamaica. Reports indicate that City Hall will eventually introduce Vision Zero reforms to Queens Boulevard, which is notoriously known as the "Boulevard of Death" for the frequent and deadly pedestrian accidents that take place on the major Queens roadway.
However, City Hall remained silent as the young Miss Liao's father, Hsi-Pei Liao, fought for justice. Indeed, Mr. Liao had to start a Change.org petition addressed to Mayor de Blasio and three state officials, setting out a five-part demand for reform to prevent repeat traffic tragedies from reoccurring. Articles by Streets Blog NYC and Gothamist added to public pressure in respect of the Liao family's fight for justice and reform.
In Jamaica, commercial traffic dangerous to pedestrians
Separately, for months, one Queens resident, Joe Moretti, has complained to Progress Queens about the dangerous conditions caused by heavy, commercial trucks being driven through the narrow streets in residential neighborhoods in Jamaica, Queens, in particular along 170th Street from Hillside Avenue to Liberty Avenue.
In a report published last October, Progress Queens observed dangerous traffic and pedestrian conditions caused by unsafe incidents, including a reporter once witnessing a driver of an 18-wheel tractor trailer making a wide right turn from westbound Jamaica Avenue onto northbound 170th Street by jumping some of the tractor trailer's tires onto a sidewalk. Other tire tracks from impossible wide right turns were visible on the sidewalk one block away from that intersection. Other large and heavy commercial trucks photographed in rather rapid succession as they were being driven on 170th Street included cement trucks, armoured trucks, dump trucks, flat bed tow trucks, and MTA buses. In photographs published by Progress Queens, children and toddlers could be seen walking along the very sidewalks and crossing some of the same streets, sometimes accompanied by adults and sometimes not, that are used by drivers of heavy, commercial trucks.
On his Web site, Clean Up Jamaica Queens Now, Mr. Moretti has complained about how City Hall has neglected the pedestrian and traffic safety of residential neighborhoods in Jamaica, Queens.
According to a prior report by Progress Queens, a traffic study of 2010 pedestrian accidents by the New York City Department of Transportation showed that an intersection in Jamaica was tied for the second-most dangerous intersection in all of Queens for pedestrian accidents. Late in 2014, two traffic accidents occurred in Jamaica, the first involving an MTA bus and the second a school bus.
The press office for City Hall refused to answer requests for comment about the failure of Vision Zero reforms to reach residential communities, like Jamaica.
Thus far, Mr. Moretti has noted that only one elected official has taken direct action on behalf of neighborhood concerns about pedestrian and traffic safety in Jamaica : State Senator Tony Avella (D-Queens), who wrote a letter to the NYPD's 103rd Precinct, requesting traffic enforcement, if warranted, against the heavy, commercial traffic traveling through Jamaica residential neighborhoods.
In November, a representative from the office of Queens Borough President Melinda Katz had told Progress Queens that the subject of the traffic concerns would be reviewed by the Interagency Task Force on Southeast Queens. Progress Queens was unable to obtain a statement on Wednesday from the representative about the status of that review. If a statement is received, then that information shall appear in a subsequent update.