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Victim’s Dad: ‘Streetsblog Changed My Perspective Forever’

Streetsblog opened my eyes to a different way of looking at our streets. Together, we can transform them.

12:00 AM EST on November 21, 2023

File photo: Gersh Kuntzman|

Each year, the city marks the World Day of Remembrance for the Victims of Traffic Violence. Hsi-Pei Liao learned about it in the worst possible way.

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As we start our annual fundraising drive, Streetsblog has been reaching out to people whose lives we hoped to help by shining a light on the ever-frustrating battle for livable streets. Today, we hear from a father whose 3-year-old daughter was killed by a reckless driver while she held her grandmother's hand.

I remember the day I stumbled upon Streetsblog. It was a moment that changed my perspective on urban life and road safety forever.

In 2013, my 3-year-old daughter, Allison, was walking hand in hand with her grandmother, just two short blocks away from her grandma's house, on a routine trip to the grocery store. They were following the rules of the road, guided by a pedestrian walk signal. However, in a split second, tragedy struck as a driver of an SUV making a left turn struck and killed Allison.

The corner where Allison Liao was killed was named in her honor. Photo: Families for Safe Streets

In the aftermath, media outlets rushed to publish headlines that painted the incident as an unfortunate accident. They also reported the false narrative that "she broke free from her grandmother." It was clear that there was more to the story. 

It was Streetsblog that provided the critical perspective and insight that the other media outlets were missing. They questioned the narrative and pointed out crucial details that had been overlooked, details that could have prevented future crashes. They emphasized the laws in place that require drivers to exercise due care to avoid harming pedestrians, especially children.

Streetsblog became my source of knowledge and empowerment. It was here that I learned about the shocking reality that traffic crashes were the leading cause of injury-related deaths for children in New York City. Allison's death was not an isolated incident; it was part of a troubling pattern that demanded attention and change. Just 10 days before Allison's incident, 5-year-old Kiko Shao in Sunset Park was killed by the driver of an SUV. Two days later, 12-year-old, Sammy Cohen Eckstein, was fatally struck by a driver in Park Slope.

Streetsblog is not just a website; it's a vital resource for our community. It's a platform that raises awareness, demands accountability, and advocates for safer streets. I share my story today, hoping we can support Streetsblog in its mission to prevent more heart-wrenching incidents like the one that forever altered my family's life.

Streetsblog opened my eyes to a different way of looking at our city streets, where they are more than just conduits for cars but spaces for everyone to navigate safely. Together, we can transform our city streets into safer, more inclusive spaces for everyone, one story at a time. Please consider joining us in this mission and making a difference in the lives of countless families.

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