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Allison Liao Street Renaming Caps Family's Fight to Boost Pedestrian Safety

By Katie Honan | October 21, 2015 4:01pm
 Allison Liao, 3, was struck and killed walking in a crosswalk with her grandmother on Oct. 6, 2013.
Allison Liao, 3, was struck and killed walking in a crosswalk with her grandmother on Oct. 6, 2013.
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Facebook/Hsi-Pei Liao

FLUSHING — It's been more than two years since 3-year-old Allison Liao was killed when a driver struck her as she crossed the street while holding her grandmother's hand. 

Her death helped spark a push for safer streets, prompting her family to become activists to make sure something like it never happens again.

On Friday, Oct. 23, the community will honor Allison when the corner of Main Street, near Cherry Avenue, will be renamed for her.

She joins Cooper Stock, 9, and Ariel Russo, 4, both victims of traffic crashes who have had streets renamed in their honor.

"This is some sort of positive thing out of a tragedy," her mom, Amy Tam-Liao, said. 

It's a validation of the work done since Allison's death to make the streets safer, her parents said.

They pass the corner nearly every day, a constant reminder of Oct. 6, 2013, when Allison was struck and killed by driver Ahmad Abu-Zayedeh as he made a left turn. 

He received tickets after her death, which were later tossed by a DMV judge, but was not arrested or charged by the district attorney's office. 

The renaming of the corner honors her short life, and the work her family has done since, they said.

The Liao family, including five-month-old son Aidan, at a January 2015 hearing for the driver that killed Allison Liao. (DNAinfo/Katie Honan)

"This is where our family activism started," Tam-Liao said, noting their work to push for Vision Zero and with Make Queens Safer. They are also founding members of Families for Safe Streets.

Her father, Hsi-Pei Liao, said their family's story is shared to help promote safer driving, and they had to prove Allison's significance to get the street renaming approved. 

"This really validates that she did make a difference, even though she was only 3 and a half years old," he said. 

"This is that corner unfortunately the spot where our daughter was killed, but we don't want it to known for that. We want it to be known for activism and advocacy for safer streets on her behalf."