On Saturday, a tractor trailer crashed into a Brooklyn wall, half a block away from where traffic safety activists were putting up a gigantic mural dedicated to 264 people who were killed in traffic accidents last year. None of the dozen or so Right of Way activists were injured, but the irony of the incident did not escape them. From New York Daily News:
“We all observed the irony of the situation,” said Ed Ravin, 53, a Brooklyn computer programmer who was helping to put up the mural abutting a vacant lot at Kent Ave. and South Third St. in Williamsburg. “People were working on the wall down the street and definitely could feel when the truck hit. But no one was hurt.”
They were able to finish constructing the 500-foot mural after the truck pulled away. The artwork is made up of 264 5-foot high, 20-inch wide panels, spanning “two-and-a-half sides of a full- city-block construction fence near the Brooklyn waterfront,” according to Right of Way’s press release.
The artwork, called Vision 264, was created in January with permission from the developer. “We call it Vision 264 because it forces people to visualize all 264 people killed by NYC traffic last year,” said Right of Way activist Keegan Stephan. “We hope witnessing the magnitude of this public health crises will inspire people to take action and help the city realize it’s goal of Vision Zero – no one killed by NYC traffic.” (Since it was installed, the total number of traffic fatalities in 2014 has risen to 269 due to delays in reporting.)
The organization says it took about 500 pounds of “paper sheets with the art, oil board backing, wheatpaste and screws” to construct the piece, which was all transported to the site by bicycle.
The mural was created with support by members of Families for Safe Streets and attempts to put pressure on Mayor Bill de Blasio to go further with Vision Zero, the mayor’s plan to eliminate all traffic-related deaths. Though the mayor has prioritized Vision Zero throughout his campaign, Right of Way Charles Komanoff argues that the City has a lot more work to do to improve pedestrian safety. “City and other officials have miles to go before they or anyone can declare our streets safe,” he said. “While enactment last year of the 25 mph speed limit (down from 30 mph) was a good start that showed strong leadership by the mayor, there is little evidence that the police commissioner and the city’s five district attorneys are committed to preventing or prosecuting dangerous driving.”
(Photo: Rabi Abonour c/o Right of Way)