The Street Memorial Project (NYC)
In 2007, the Street Memorial Project, a joint effort from Visual Resistance, Transportation Alternatives, and Time's Up! was established to honor pedestrians killed on NYC streets. An outgrowth from the Ghost Bike movement, a plaque is usually placed at the site indicating: date of the fatality, manner of death, and age of the victim.
Please join the 3rd Annual Ride, Walk and Rally to Remember this Sunday to honor those who were killed riding a bike or walking in NYC this past year.
Ryan Nuckel: [00:00] We have been doing memorials for cyclists killed by cars for almost two years. And at the 2007 Memorial Bike Ride we did our first memorial for pedestrians. There was a lot of interest in it as kind of a natural outgrowth of the ghost bike project. There’s about 150 to 200 fatalities to pedestrians each year in New York, so we’re doing memorials for everyone killed so far in 2007.
Brooke DuBose: [00:29] A big part of my job this year has been learning and understanding how big the problem of pedestrian safety is in New York City. Last year alone there was 166 people who were killed on our streets, and almost two dozen cyclists as well that were killed. We follow and find out about every fatality that happens, which is just about every other day in New York City, and we find out where it happens and we put up a plaque and we go to that site and we honour the person that was killed there. And part of that is to really bring the humanness and the reality to the situation of how serious it is in New York City today.
Rachael Myers: [01:09] We got a large response from people saying that, you know, we wish that we could do pedestrians what we do for the cyclists who are killed. And it’s often at times the same issues where pedestrians are killed by cars and usually the drivers are not held responsible, you know. It’s often a situation where cars are being reckless or there’s infrastructure that doesn’t really meet the needs of pedestrians. So it’s a lot of the same issues going on.
Ryan Nuckel: [01:31]
You know I’d like to see the need for this really dwindle to nothing,
but that’s not going to happen until, you know, there’s changes
on the streets of the city. You know the city’s response to
pedestrian and bike fatalities is always to tell the victims to be more
careful, which is, I mean, insulting. It’s also absurd.
I mean with simple infrastructural changes to some of these intersections
or streets, you know, changing the timing on the crosswalk or raising
the kerb, you know, these could be avoided permanently. And places
where you see repeat fatalities could be, you know, completely safe
and people in the neighbourhoods could walk around without fear.
When we do these memorials we’re just trying to make what was just
a… a series of statistics have a real human weight to remind people
that behind each, you know, passing headline in the police [unintelligible
02:29] is, you know, a life and a story and, you know, a person who
could be your friend or be a family member. And hopefully, you
know, with that kind of human weight behind these things, people will
realise, you know, slowly that, you know, it’s a serious… a serious
problem that needs to change and that, you know, the life of this city
is… comes from its people. These are your neighbours, so we
should keep it safe.