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UWS Sixth-Graders Demand More Vision Zero Action from Community Board

By Emily Frost | June 3, 2015 12:24pm
 A group of 12-year-old locals pleaded with the Community Board to take more action to make the street safer.
Youngsters Demand Board Take Action on Street Safety
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UPPER WEST SIDE — A group of sixth-graders demanded their local community board revive its focus on safer streets and the mayor's Vision Zero plan in a protest they staged Tuesday night. 

A group of eight 12-year-olds who live in the neighborhood wore neon yellow shirts and "Vision Zero" stickers as they stood before members of Community Board 7 and the public to share their demands. 

"Please fix our streets and protect all the children walking and biking in the neighborhood," said Naomi Sladkus, 12, the daughter of streets activist Lisa Sladkus. 

She urged board members to take action in finding solutions to dangerous street conditions that could lead to another child or adult dying in a crash, referencing Cooper Stock, 9, who was struck and killed in January 2014. 

"Because we are 12, next year, we won’t be able to ride bikes on the sidewalk [anymore]," Naomi continued. "If someone makes a mistake while driving, I could lose my life."

The group, who stood with residents and activists like Sladkus, Willow Stelzer and Mark Gorton, demanded specifically that the board reactivate its Vision Zero Task Force, which was formed shortly after Stock's death. 

They argued that the Task Force met only a couple times last year and never produced any concrete plans. 

"We’re tired of the inaction. No more studying. No more fake task forces... We know what saves lives: let’s do it," Sladkus said. 

CB7's chairwoman Elizabeth Caputo insisted the board prioritizes street safety and Vision Zero's goals, making them the board's core principles.

Caputo said she met with Gorton and other transportation advocates recently, as well as with the Department of Transportation, to push for a long list of street changes the Transportation Committee has proposed.