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Dozens March For Safer Streets In Queens After String of Fatal Crashes

By Katie Honan | November 13, 2013 12:52pm
	 Marchers shouted "Obey the lights, Jackson Heights" and "Drivers slow down, put your phones down." 
Safe Streets Rally Jackson Heights
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JACKSON HEIGHTS — Dozens of people braved the cold to march in an emotionally-charged rally to demand safer streets, tougher enforcement of traffic laws, and a lower speed limit in Jackson Heights and Corona, the site of recent deadly accidents.

The Three Children Too Many rally, organized by a group of Jackson Heights residents who said they were outraged by recent tragedies, brought out advocates and families — many of whom were directly impacted by traffic accidents.

“We couldn't stay silent about the preventable deaths of children by reckless driving,” said Cristina Furlong, a Jackson Heights mother and one of the organizers of the march.

“As we learn more and get more enraged, we understand that the need for enforcement of traffic laws and the criminality of unsafe driving are more important than ever."

The march started at 100th Street and Northern Boulevard in Corona and made stops throughout the neighborhood, where local politicians, parents and a Department of Transportation representative spoke.

Marchers stopped at the corner of Northern and Junction Boulevards, where Olvin Jahir Figueroa, 3, was struck and killed by a drunk driver on Oct. 11.

A memorial for the boy was still up on the corner, and activists recently painted a stencil memorializing him on the crosswalk where he was struck.

The family of victims of recent traffic accidents marched with the group, some holding signs and asking for justice.

At the final stop in front of the post office on 37th Avenue, a moment of silence was held for the victims of traffic accidents, and family was invited to speak.

Luis Bravo, who would have turned 20 on Nov. 9, was killed in September by a hit-run driver in Woodside while walking to his Jackson Heights home.

His younger sister, Sara, pleaded for the police to continue investigating the accident, and for the driver to turn him or herself in.

The mother of Miguel Torres, who was struck and killed by a dump truck last December, broke down in tears while thanking the crowd for marching.

And the parents of Allison Hope Liao, 3, who was killed on Oct. 7 while crossing the street with her grandmother, spoke of the pain of losing their daughter — while also demanding tougher punishments for drivers.

Liao's mother, Amy Tan Liao, said her daughter "will never blow out another birthday candle."

"She'll never have a first day of kindergarten," she said.

The driver in the accident was not charged, and only received two traffic tickets, she said.

"Ally paid the death penalty for crossing the street," she said, through tears.

"It's unbelievable the driver's penalty is two tickets, and our daughter is gone."

A wrap-up of the rally from Streetfilms.

The Parents of Allison Liao Speak at the Three Children Too Many Traffic Safety March from Streetfilms on Vimeo.