Last week we talked about speed cameras being voted out of the city budget, which could be a major road block for Vision Zero, de Blasio’s ambitious campaign to end all traffic deaths in NYC. But what’s been most fascinating about the conflict, is seeing the ways in which New Yorkers have responded.
Tomorrow (4/9) Right of Way, a “direct action street justice group,” is taking their protest to the streets, staging a demonstration that will involve stenciling the outlines of 40 bodies on Grand St (Between Columbia and Lewis in the LES), the number of lives they believe will be lost as a result of the speed camera bill. The protest will point fingers directly at lawmakers in Albany, whom they hold ultimately accountable, using #killedbyalbany as a slogan, transposed over a logo of a bloody handprint.
On the other end of the spectrum, a group of about two dozen bikers visited the sites where fellow NYC cyclists were killed, holding make shift memorial services over white ghost bikes, lovingly adorned with flowers and photos.
One of the services was for Laura Rothfuss who was only 24 years old when she was hit by a cab while biking in East Harlem in June. Her parents came to the memorial and watched, as the group members held their bikes over their heads as a salute to the life of their daughter. The event was organized by BikeNYC.org, a division of Transportation Alternatives, and Ghostbikes.org.
Last year there were 286 traffic deaths in the city. So far this year there have been 56. WNYC’s brilliant project, Mean Streets, has tracked each of these 2014 incidents to illuminate the issue of street safety and shed light on its victims. Transportation Alternatives has also provided this opportunity to write your elected officials (the letter is automated, so it’s super easy), requesting a 20mph speed limit, which could save 133 lives.
So what is the best strategy to fighting traffic deaths? Protesting by showing the “blood on Albany lawmakers hands”? Honoring the dead? Or meticulously tracking the data? Will any of these methods stop drivers, passengers, pedestrians, and cyclists from dying every year?