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Activists rally after motorist slays 10-year-old in Midwood

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Photo gallery

1/6
Dozens of Brooklynites gathered at a memorial for Enzo Farachio, a 10-year-old boy who was fatally struck by an SUV in Midwood.
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Enzo’s parents, Mary Majao and Angel Farachio, speak at the vigil for their son, who died earlier this week in a fatal car crash.
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Families for Safe Streets member Jane Martin-Lavaud speaks at the Midwood demonstration on Sept. 12.
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Seven-year-old Christian Delgado, a relative of Enzo Farachio, calls for better protection for pedestrians and cyclists.
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City Council Speaker Corey Johnson commits to passing legislation aimed at creating safer streets.
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Cecilia Green tells her story of being injured by a motorist while on a bicycle nearby in 2015.

Transit activists, elected officials, and the devastated family of a 10-year-old boy who was slain by a driver in Midwood earlier this week rallied on Thursday to demand bold reforms to protect pedestrians and bicyclists from getting killed on the road.

“We lost our baby, and he’s not coming back,” said the boy’s teary-eyed mother, Mary Majao. “Let’s make Brooklyn a safer place for all.”

Advocates from Transportation Alternatives and Families for Safe Street gathered at Ocean Avenue and Avenue L, where a motorist behind the wheel of a Lexus SUV suffered what police described as a “medical episode” and struck Enzo Farachio as he waited at a nearby bus stop on Sept. 10.

Farachio’s death follows a sharp rise in traffic fatalities across New York City, and in Brooklyn, where traffic deaths have increased 72 percent this year as compared to the same period in 2018, according to Police Department statistics.

City Council Speaker Corey Johnson — who introduced legislation that would require the installation of 250 miles of protected bike lanes and 150 miles of dedicated bus lanes within five years — joined the rally to promote his bill, which he said is designed to take back the city from motorists.

“Prayers and condolences — which we do give — needs to be backed up by action. That is why we are going to move this bill forward,” said Johnson. “We are going to set real benchmarks to pedestrianize areas across New York City. To put in place safer places for pedestrians and cyclists and mass transit users.”

Failure to adopt the Council speaker’s plan — which is slightly more aggressive than the Green Wave bike lane expansion being pursued by Mayor de Blasio, who Johnson hopes to replace come 2021 — would lead to more senseless deaths like Farachio’s, according to a Transportation Alternatives spokesman.

“We will never see an end to traffic violence if we don’t make safe street designs the standard across all five boroughs,” said Joseph Cutrufo. “To do anything less would be an insult to the families of the thousands of New Yorkers killed by unsafe streets and deadly drivers, and put countless more residents at risk.”

One local activists, whose daughter was fatally struck by a car in Gravesend six years ago, claimed that new protected bike lanes would safeguard both cyclists and pedestrians from out-of-control motorists, saying the cycling paths provide an additional buffer between traffic and the sidewalk.

“Protected bike lanes would provide an extra cushion as opposed to the bike lanes that are just painted on the street. It would provide an added level of protection when you’re on the sidewalk,” said Jane Martin-Lavaud. “Of course you should be careful crossing the street, but when you’re standing on the sidewalk, you should not be fearful. You should not be in danger.”

The teary-eyed activists concluded Thursday night’s demonstration with a grim procession to the site of two other fatal crashes — one that left 52-year-old cyclist Jose Alzorriz dead on Coney Island Avenue and Avenue L last month, and another that killed 16-year-old cyclist Yisroel Schwartz at a Borough Park intersection in May.

Hours after the street safety demonstration ended, a motorist behind the wheel of an SUV slammed into a city bus two blocks from where Farachio was killed, injuring eight people.

Reach reporter Aidan Graham at agraham@schnepsmedia.com or by calling (718) 260–4577. Follow him at twitter.com/aidangraham95.
Updated 9:19 pm, September 13, 2019
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Reasonable discourse

Rampart says:
Why do we put up with this?
Sept. 13, 2019, 6 pm
Bea from Brooklyn says:
A “medical event” where the driver is suddenly and unexpectedly incapacitated is NOT THE SAME THING as “traffic violence.” I would like to be protected from cyclists who have no care for pedestrians who are rightfully and legally crossing through a bike lane.
Sept. 13, 2019, 6:29 pm
Charles from Bklyn says:
So tradgic and unnecessary. Many drivers run red lights and speed every day, sometimes right in front of police. Where is the enforcement of the law? Where are the public service announcements? The government answers with traffic cameras to increase revenues. This does not solve the problem.
Sept. 14, 2019, 6:25 am
Rufus Leaking from BH says:
Why doesn't the government repeal the laws of physics!
Sept. 14, 2019, 10:18 am
Vision Zero from Zero Vision says:
Stiffer penalties for careless drivers.
Sept. 14, 2019, 4:23 pm
Peter Engel from Fort Greene says:
This is traffic violence and criminal negligence. Why is the NYPD so eager to back a "medical episode?" I'm hoping DA Gonzalez shows some spine on this one.
Sept. 16, 2019, 10:11 am
Skeptical from PLG says:
It is no coincidence all the drivers who kill pedestrians have “medical events.” I’ve read this excuse in the nyc newspapers for a long time. The defense attorneys know the DA caves easily. Nowhere in the country do you see so many drivers with so many claimed problems.
Sept. 16, 2019, 2:24 pm
Pat K from Bayridge says:
Stiffen thebpenalties NYPD enforce traffic rules speeding in the streets
Sept. 16, 2019, 4:01 pm
An angry mob says:
Listen to the angry mob mentality, "burn the witch", "hang him", is all you hear. Take a deep breath and lets get back to civil thinking, like how to keep traffic moving and do it in the safest way. Let's not buy into our anger that clouds our judgment.
Sept. 17, 2019, 7:34 am
An angry mob says:
This is the voice of an angry mob. "Burn the witch" "hang him"! We need to make civil decisions on how to keep traffic moving while improving safety for everyone. Let's not allow anger to cloud our judgment.
Sept. 17, 2019, 7:42 am

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