Children's Deaths Prompt Residents to Brainstorm Traffic Safety Solutions

By Leslie Albrecht on November 21, 2013 8:47am 

Slideshow
 Park Slope residents will brainstorm safety solutions in the wake of Sammy Cohen Eckstein's death.
Death of Park Slope 12-Year-Old Prompts Traffic Safety Strategy Meeting
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PARK SLOPE — Three New York City children have been struck and killed by cars in the past six weeks, and residents are hoping to turn heartbreak into action on Thursday night.

Two neighborhood fathers are hosting a public brainstorming session on pedestrian safety at Congregation Beth Elohim with the goal of preventing such tragedies in the future.

Park Slope dad Daniel Hurewitz said he wants to harness the outrage that has erupted following the deaths of 12-year-old Sammy Cohen Eckstein in Park Slope, 3-year-old Allison Liao in Queens and 9-year-old Lucian Merryweather in Fort Greene. All three were hit by cars.

Residents have held marches and rallies in response, and emotions are running high on the issue of making the city's streets safer for pedestrians. Hurewitz said it's time to make lasting changes.

"My hope is that...we'll gather our energy in a way that will create pressure to really make these changes happen and really see results," Hurewitz said.

Hurewitz said he doesn't consider himself a traffic activist, but felt compelled to take action after the death of Cohen Eckstein, who was hit by a van at Prospect Park West and Third Street.

The father of two, who lives around the corner from where Cohen Eckstein was killed, said he was disappointed by the seemingly lukewarm response from city officials after Sammy's mother pleaded for lower speed limits.

Hurewitz is hoping the Thursday meeting will mobilize more people to pressure lawmakers for changes.

"I want this to be a chance to brainstorm ideas so we can turn to our officials and articulate to them, 'Hey here’s what we want,'" Hurewitz said. "I didn’t know Sammy, but I feel like he was one of our kids. I just feel like his story could be any of our stories."

The public meeting on traffic safety will be held at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 21 at Congregation Beth Elohim, 274 Garfield Place.

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