NEW YORK (1010 WINS/WCBS 880) – Families for Safe Streets (FSS) and Transportation Alternatives hosted an event Sunday in Queens where dozens of people honored the victims of traffic violence and called for policy change on the World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims.
The ceremony began in Astoria Park, near Shore Boulevard and Astoria Park South, at 10 a.m. and concluded with a march around the area that paused at three different crash sites where victims of traffic violence were killed in the last year and a half.
Julie Huntington, one of the chairs of policy and advocacy for FSS, told 1010 WINS/WCBS 880 that the day provided people the opportunity to grieve as well as advocate for political action, demanding policy updates and infrastructure changes.
“We will call for safe streets and demand that our leaders acknowledge that every crash in this city is preventable and is a policy failure,” Huntington said.
Huntington says city lawmakers prioritize the speed and mobility of cars over human lives, and noted that deaths and injuries from vehicular traffic in Queens are up 35% this year.
“The city is suffering from a lack of political will to systemically address this completely preventable crisis,” Huntington said.
At the event, FSS set aside yellow flowers for the 3,000 people seriously injured, shoes for the 80 pedestrians killed, bicycles for the 27 bicyclists killed and scooters and strollers for the 10 children killed due to to traffic violence this year in New York City.
FSS, an advocacy group made up of individuals who have been affected by traffic violence, now has several hundred members working to enact policy change. In its first year, FSS New York helped lower the city speed limit to 25 mph.
“After New York City’s speed limit was lowered from 30 mph to 25 mph, traffic fatalities fell by more than 22 percent and pedestrian fatalities fell by more than 25 percent,” according to Transportation Alternatives.
The New York chapter of FSS has partnered with Transportation Alternatives, a group that just celebrated its 50-year anniversary and aims to “reclaim NYC from cars” and advocate “for better walking, biking, public transit, and public spaces in our city.”
“Every life lost on our streets isn't just a tragedy for that single neighborhood – the waves of fear ripple out through every community,” Mayor Eric Adams wrote in a tribute post on X Sunday afternoon.
“On this #WorldDayOfRemembrance for Traffic Victims, we recommit to meaningful, lasting policies to protect life on our streets,” the post concluded.
The event in Astoria offered members of the community an opportunity to mourn loved ones. Huntington, who lost her father to traffic violence in 2019, was among them.
“His death was violent, senseless and 100% preventable. In that moment I lost my hero, my go-to-guy, one of my most trusted friends and confidants,” she said.