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Friday’s Headlines: Death and Die-In Edition

12:03 AM EST on January 20, 2023

Lev Fruchter, the son of Norman Fruchter and Rachel Fruchter, both of whom were killed in road violence 25 years apart, spoke at a vigil for his father in Bay Ridge on Thursday night. Behind him are (left) State Sen. Andrew Gounardes and Comptroller Brad Lander. Photo: Bobby Preti

The die-in is at 9 a.m. on Friday.

The big story of the day will be today's 9 a.m. "die-in" at the intersection of Second Avenue and Ninth Street in Gowanus, the spot where Sarah Schick was killed by a truck driver last week.

Little remains known about the final moments leading up to the crash, but everyone knows that the Department of Transportation has had many years (and many false starts) in making that stretch of Ninth Street safe for cyclists. You'll hear plenty of complaints from cyclists about near misses that could have become tragedies — and more calls for the city to do something.

Friday's action comes just hours after grieving relatives and friends of Norman Fruchter gathered in Bay Ridge's Owls Head Park on Thursday night to mourn the loss of the education reform giant who was killed earlier this month by a reckless driver steps from his home. Fructer's wife, Rachel, was herself killed by a reckless driver in Prospect Park 25 years ago.

Neither driver — the trucker who killed Schick nor the reversing hellcat who ran down Fruchter — has been charged in the deaths, but legal accountability is only one demand of city cyclists and pedestrians. The other is better design to slow down these reckless drivers who last year killed 17 cyclists and more than 125 pedestrians, according to city stats.

It's worth repeating the litany of road hazards: Last year in New York City, there were 103,486 reported crashes, or 283 on the average day. Those crashes injured 49,408 of our fellow New Yorkers and visitors, including 5,014 cyclists and 8,935 pedestrians. Those numbers are, as the DOT pointed out earlier this month, getting better. But they are still horrific.

And, speaking of Ninth Street, there was a crash on a very busy stretch of the roadway between Fifth and Sixth avenues featuring a Virginia-plated driver who messed up big time. We pointed out that his plates are probably part of a "Where Do My Neighbors Live"-style insurance scam, given how many local tickets this scofflaw has racked up:

In other news:

    • Here's another reason to take away police parking. (NY Post)
    • Add being a reckless driver to Rep. George Santos's list of scams. (NY Post)
    • We need to keep putting street trees to work. (NY Times)
    • Suburban pols are still complaining about congestion pricing (NY Post), which the numbers show will benefit more constituents (the larger group that takes transit vs. the smaller group that drives into or through the Manhattan central business district) than they care to admit, as we pointed out in a tweet:
    • Cops and other city workers are filling the new pedestrian zones in Hells Kitchen. What a surprise. (W42St)
    • Jose Martinez is still on the MTA elevators story, which appears to have become personal for him. (The City)

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