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Stop Killing Kids: March for Safer NYC Streets on Monday

Kevin Flores, Abigail Blumenstein, and Joshua Lew.

In remembrance of the three kids who have lost their lives to motorists in 2018, New Yorkers will march for safer streets on Monday, demanding stronger action from public officials to prevent the vehicular killing of children.

Earlier this week, Dorothy Bruns ran over and killed 4-year-old Abigail Blumenstein and 20-month-old Joshua Lew on Ninth Street at Fifth Avenue in Park Slope. Bruns also injured their mothers, one of whom is pregnant, and a fifth victim when she drove into a crowded crosswalk against the signal.

Local residents have for years asked DOT calm traffic on Ninth Street by adding protected bike lanes. DOT previously said the street was too narrow for such a design, but after Monday's crash and a subsequent rally outside Mayor de Blasio's gym dominated the news, DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg said a Ninth Street redesign, with protected bike lanes, is imminent.

Meanwhile, there have been no announcements of safety upgrades on Lewis Avenue in Bed-Stuy, where oil truck driver Philip Monfoletto struck and killed 13-year-old Kevin Flores as he biked between home and school.

Lewis Avenue at Jefferson Avenue, where Kevin was struck, is one-way with two lanes for parking, each with a painted buffer, but no protection for people on bikes. Crashes at the intersection injured 16 people from 2009 through 2017, according to city data.

Lewis Avenue at Jefferson Avenue. Photo: Google Maps
Lewis Avenue at Jefferson Avenue. Photo: Google Maps
Lewis Avenue at Jefferson Avenue. Photo: Google Maps

In Bed-Stuy, both Lewis Avenue and its southbound counterpart, Marcus Garvey Boulevard, are no narrower than the Midtown cross streets where DOT plans to install protected bike lanes. The B15 runs on both streets -- low-cost bus islands like Oakland is testing out on Telegraph Avenue could be used here to accommodate bus service and protected bike lanes.

Streetsblog has asked DOT if improvements are planned for the street where Kevin Flores was killed. [Update: DOT sent us a statement: "We are currently reviewing potential safety improvements for this location."]

City motorists have killed no fewer than 24 children age 14 and under since the 2014 launch of the Vision Zero traffic safety program, according to crash data tracked by Streetsblog.

Hosted by Park Slope Neighbors, Bed-Stuy Safe Streets, Borough President Eric Adams, Transportation Alternatives, and other groups, Monday's march will be in honor of Kevin, Abigail, and Josh.

From the Facebook event page:

NYC Kids March for Safe Streets is inspired by child-led protests against cars in the Netherlands in the 1970s. "Stop the Child-Murder" (in Dutch, Stop de Kindermoord) sparked a dramatic cultural shift, and inspired the Netherlands to reclaim cities and towns from cars, leading to a huge decline in traffic fatalities.

The march will begin at 6 p.m. at Ninth Street and Prospect Park West.

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