"Together our grief could fill an ocean," declared Amy Cohen,
of Families for Safer Streets," whose son was killed by a car
three years ago. I still wear a bractlet with the words,
"For Sammy" her son. "Mayor de Blasio, recommit to Vision
Zero!" she declared.
Last year the Mayor was at the day of remembrance, noted
Steely White. This years with deaths are on the rise.
He is not talking about Vision Zero.
Walking around, the wind swirling on a cold winter afternoon,
I talked with old friends
from Right of Way, Times Up!, and Transportation Alternatives.
"I made one for Matthieu Lefevre," noted my friend Liz from Rightof Way, displaying her yellow ribbon.
Looking at the signs and the pins, with photos of people killed
by motorists, a lump welled up in my throat.
"These are real people, real names, people with kids, people who
were brothers and sisters, not just statistics," noted my friend
I thought about Amy Cohen's son Sammy, who was killed on Prospect
Park West, days before his bar mitzvah.
I greeted the parents of Allison Liao, whose
daughter was hit by a car in Queens, one of the many families we
made memorials for with right of way.
I talked with a woman whose 23-year-old daughter was killed by a car.
"It was a nightmare," her mom declared showing me a photo of her
"Its not an accident, its a crash," explained Paul Steely White.
"The burden of proof has to be taken off of families."
"I hope we do not have to come here again next year," plead Cohen,
her voice cracking up.
“We have come together to remember and honor those
who have been killed or severely injured by aggressive or
reckless driving and dangerous conditions on our streets, and
we stand together to remindNew Yorkers that we
can create a safer city for everyone,”
said SofiaRusso of Families for Safe Streets, whose 4-year-old
daughter ArielRusso was killed by a speeding driver who crashed
on a Manhattan sidewalk.
FSS members tied yellow ribbons onto a Vision Zero sculpture to commemorate their loved ones, and elected officials read aloud
the names of people killed and injured in traffic crashes in New
York City so far in 2016. “Too many people have been needlessly killed and maimed on our streets, as we have been reminded in recent days. We are standing
withNew Yorkers who have suffered those losses to tell our city
and theworld that traffic violence is preventable,” said Paul
Steely White,Executive Director of Transportation Alternatives.
“The World Day ofRemembrance is an opportunity for all of us to
renew our Vision Zerocommitment to keep working to change the
culture of reckless andcareless driving, and to rebuild our
streets so they’re safer for everyone who uses them.”
On a single day this week, one man was struck and killed by a
driverwho fled the scene, a bicyclist was killed by a truck
driver on theUpper West Side, while nearby two pedestrians
were seriously injured when a driver drove onto a sidewalk. “The tragedies that have befallen countless New Yorkers on our
streetsare what motivate me to push forward in my work on
Vision Zero,” saidCity Council Transportation Committee Chair
Ydanis Rodriguez. “We’vedone a great deal but we are far from
finished. Today highlights theimportance of our work and why we
must remain dogged in pursuit of ourultimate goal. It can and
must be done because one lost life to
traffic violence is one too many. My thoughts and prayers are
with thefamily members and friends lost on our streets this
year, and every year before it.”
"We are here in remembrance of the lives we have lost, and
to spreadthe message that these tragedies are completely
preventable," saidCouncil Member Margaret S. Chin. "No family
should have to endure theanguish of losing a loved one as a
result of traffic violence. But toprevent any more tragedies
from occurring, we all must remain vigilant in our efforts to transform a culture of aggressive and reckless driving that endangers pedestrians and cyclists. The promise
of VisionZero is attainable, but only if we all do our part to
ensure that everyone safely shares the road." State Senator Brad Hoylman said, “New Yorkers are now more likely
todie from being hit by a car than from gun violence. If we want
to create a safer and more sustainable city, it’s essential that
we lookcritically at our roads and other infrastructure. This
World Day ofRemembrance we must recommit ourselves to the goals
of Vision Zero andI look forward to working with Mayor de Blasio
and Transportation Alternatives to making that vision a reality." “Our government is responsible for protecting all New Yorkers,
andthis includes the millions of pedestrians who walk our
streets everyday,” said Public Advocate Letitia James.
“Too many innocent people,including children, are injured or
killed simply crossing our streets,a sad reality that we know
we can change. We have a moral obligation to do everything in our power to end traffic deaths, and this
World Remembrance Day, let's recommit ourselves to truly
achieving zero.” “The scourge of pedestrians and bicyclists dying on our streets
due toreckless driving must stop,” said Council Member Andrew
Cohen. “Justthis week, a 72-year old man was killed by a
hit-and-run driver in myCouncil District, while walking on the
street one block from thesubway. I’ve advocated to ensure the
safety of pedestrians andbicyclists wherever and whenever
possible, by supporting curb extensions and protected bike lanes.
I applaud Transportation Alternatives for bringing attention
to these deaths and mobilizing action in support of Vision Zero.” "As a city we must push harder than ever to make the changes to
our streets necessary to prevent traffic collisions, as any life
lost on an unsafe street is one life too many," said Council
Member BenKallos. "My heart goes out to the victims of these
collisions andtheir families. We all have a responsibility
to one another to ensurethat the roads we share are safe.
We must remain committed to the goalof Vision Zero. World Day
of Remembrance is an opportunity for reflection, and to honor
those we have lost by respecting their memories." "We continue to mourn this senseless loss of life,” said Council Member Carlos Menchaca. “A day of remembrance lets us grieve
together, reflect together, and work together, every day, to
make our streets safe for everyone. I will continue to do
whatever I can to further the cause of safety." Council Member Daniel Garodnick said, "In Manhattan's 19th
Precinct alone, seven pedestrians have been killed in car
crashes this year. Seniors in my district tell me they are
afraid to walk across thestreet. New York City needs to use
every tool available to strengthen our commitment to Vision
Zero and end traffic deaths once and for
all." The World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims,
adopted by theUN General Assembly in 2005, is commemorated
each year on the third Sunday of November, in locations
around the world. --