The news was horrifying. Two children were mowed down and killed by a reckless driver in Park Slope. Their mothers were seriously injured, and a busting residential neighborhood all witnessed it in broad daylight. This terrifying tragedy could take place on any street in New York City and could affect any person. Traffic violence doesn’t discriminate. We’re all at risk. We all mourn Abigail Blumenstein and Joshua Lew, and vow to support their devastated families.
That it happened in Park Slope is a tough burden for the elected officials who represent the area, and the activists who have for years, fought for safer street design and protected bike lanes. In fact, the Mayor himself exercises daily at the YMCA a block from the crash scene. This is a neighborhood of family cyclists, commuters and vibrant neighbors.
Within days, the driver’s license was suspended and the DOT pledged to put in the redesigns the community had been asking for, including a protected bike lane. This is far from standard. Often the driver is free to drive the very day. In fact, this driver was not charged, and still hasn’t been charged with any crime. In fact, something similar could happen here in Queens or the Bronx or anywhere, and barely make headlines.
This must be a tipping point for all New Yorkers. We must stop a cycle of violence that has killed and injured too many, only because no one has been tough enough to stand up to a car-culture and DMV that keeps reckless drivers on the road, despite long records of driving infractions. (this driver had myriad speeding and red-light running tickets). We can’t leave it up to politicians, community boards and activists to show up, whether at meetings or vigils such as this one. We must create a system of checks and balances that serve the millions of pedestrians, cyclists, mass-transit users, and more than anything our cities children, so that preventable deaths are indeed prevented.
The March for Safe Streets will be led by children and their parents and loved ones coming together as families that make up vibrant New York. Please join. You may have never considered yourself an advocate before, and you don’t have to. You just have to agree that we haven’t done enough to protect New Yorkers from traffic violence and demand measures are taken to keep our kids safe.
Let’s treat Abigail and Josh like they were our kids too. They were little New Yorkers full of promise and vibrancy. With their families, they played in parks, attended church, went to baby groups and should have had the promise of a life not taken by a reckless driver on a dangerous street in New York City.
Please join us for the NYC March for Safe Streets
Monday, March 12 at 6 PM – 7 PM
9th Street and Prospect Park West, Brooklyn