Financial advisor Martin Lucaj of The Hajdari Group in New York City is largely responsible for getting a bill through the New York Legislature to lower the speed limit on some New York City streets.
Unfortunately, the accomplishment came as the result of a tragic accident in which his mother was killed: Maria Lucaj, 55, was struck by a car on Thanksgiving Eve last year as she was heading back to the family home in the Morris Park section of the Bronx.
She died a few days later.
“I don’t like to call it an accident. It was an avoidable incident,” says Lucaj, 25, the youngest of Maria’s three sons. “The driver was going too fast to stop in time. The fact is, if the car had been going slower, my mother would still be alive today.”
Since then Lucaj, along with his brothers, Robert, 34, and John, 32, have worked for a bill to allow the New York City Department of Transportation to lower the speed limit to 25 miles per hour from 30 on streets where no signs are posted. The bill also allows community boards to push for further reductions where necessary.
The bill has passed the State Legislature and is expected to be signed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo. It is in line with New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Vision Zero campaign to reduce the number of pedestrian accidents and fatalities in the city.
Lucaj also has successfully worked to have a stoplight put at an intersection near where his mother was killed and stop signs at the intersection.
New York State Senator Jeff Klein has honored Lucaj for his work to improve traffic safety.
“We did not want our mother’s death to be in vain. We thought if we got involved there could be a change for the better and no one else would have to go through what we did,” says Lucaj. Another pedestrian was hit in the same intersection two weeks after Maria Lucaj was struck.
Zaim Hajdari, founder and president of the Hajdari Group, a financial advisory and wealth management firm, says, “Martin cares deeply about driving change and he has an ability to connect with people. He was the driving force behind this legislation. I am proud of him.”