Days after Valerie Razack’s death, her community members, close friends and family decided to host a vigil with flowers and candles in the area Razack was killed. At 63 years old, Razack who was hit by a 2009 Dodge Durango on Beach 73rd street while crossing the street from grocery shopping. Razack was taken to St. John’s Episcopal Hospital and was unfortunately pronounced dead on arrival.
This isn’t the first time someone has died due to reckless driving in the Rockaways, and residents want something done before another death takes place. “A year ago we stood on this very same corner because a youth got hit going to the YMCA! At the time the community pleaded with the department of transportation to do something about the safety measures at this intersection.” said Lisa George, manager for New York State Senator James Sanders Jr. office.
Frustration was prevalent with the community members due to the lack of elected officials who decided to come. First Vice President of The Heart of Rockaway (T.H.O.R.), Edwin Williams, asked the crowd to notice who made the decision to attend the vigil,and to take that with them the next time they decide to vote. “I want everybody to take a look around them, I invited every elected official for this district. When you go to vote, remember they are not here and we’ve been asking for their help!” said Williams
Even though anger filled the air from the community members, it was still a time for grieving the family’s loss. Holding one of his mother’s photos, Razack’s only son was still in disbelief that walking home from getting groceries took his mother’s life. “Since we do not have any speed cameras and we have failed laws, I have to view my mother from a closed casket because she’s simply unrecognizable.” said Razack’s son.
Community members are asking for elected officials and the Department of Transportation to start the actions needed to prevent another death. “We’ve asked for speeding cameras, they [DOT] said no. We’ve asked for a red-light camera, they said no. A median, they said no! It’s always a study here and there — I’ve been here for 12 years and they’ve done nothing.” said Williams.
The complaints are there, the community is just waiting for somebody to do something that can change the course of traffic accidents in the area. The Department of Transportation plans to review that particular intersection of Rockaway Beach Boulevardfrom Beach 73rd to Beach 88th to look for safety improvements.
~by Sheneca Sharpe