Sunday, November 20, 2016

Families of Crash Victims Mark the World Day of Remembrance in NYC FSS, TransAlt renew Vision Zero commitment to fix dangerous streets and change culture of reckless driving

 "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 Right
of 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.  

After a week that saw a spike in traffic deaths 
and injuries, Familiesfor Safe Streets, 
a group of New Yorkers who have lost 
loved ones orbeen injured in traffic crashes, 
joined street safety advocates from Transportation 
Alternatives to observe the annual World Day of 
Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims 
on Sunday, November 20th at CityHall Park.

“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

"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

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.


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