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Families Show Support For De Blasio’s Vision Zero Plan At City Hall

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Advocates for safer streets in New York City were at City Hall on Wednesday to voice support for Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Vision Zero plan.

One by one, parents stood and explained how their child was killed in New York City traffic accidents, 1010 WINS’ Carol D’Auria reported.

The group calls themselves Families for Safe Streets, a coalition of people who have lost a loved one in a traffic accident — many involving taxi cabs.

Donald Gordon’s daughter, Kelly, was fatally struck by two taxis at 86th Street and York Avenue earlier this month.

“These two taxi drivers left that scene with not even a single summons. For all we know, they could have picked up another passenger a block away,” he said. “They need to get a summons, they need to be pulled in, they need to get a Breathalyzer, they need to get a drug test, they need to have an eye examination, and their car should be impounded.”

As CBS 2’s Cindy Hsu reported, many of those speaking at City Hall said the stories involving people killed by taxis are endless — the British tourist who lost her leg when she was hit by a cab over the summer, 9-year-old Cooper Stock, who was killed by a taxi on the Upper West Side in January while crossing the street with his father.

His mother, Dana Lerner, is fighting for Cooper’s Law. “Any taxi driver who kills or maims somebody would automatically have their license suspended,” she said.

But Bhairavi Desai, head of the New York Taxi Workers Alliance, said if police determine it was an accident, then cab drivers deserve the right to keep working.

“To take away someone’s livelihood is a really severe penalty, and especially when no criminal intent has been determined,” he said.

The City Council was holding a hearing on 22 bills and resolutions to tighten the laws and increase penalties in an effort to reduce traffic fatalities.

The group is fighting to lower speed limits in some areas to 20 mph and expanding the use of speed cameras.

“We do know that Kelly would be alive today if the cab was going 20 miles an hour,” said Robin Gordon, the stepmother of one victim.

Families for Safe Streets leader Amy Cohen, who lost her 12-year-old son Sammy last October after he was fatally hit across the street from his home, said the group’s main priority is to reduce the speed limit.

“At 20 miles per hour, a pedestrian has a 95 percent chance of survival,” Cohen said.

“We don’t have time on our hands,” Cohen added. “We don’t want more members in our group.”

“We urge the New York City Council to spend more time worrying about people than horse carriages,” Laura Cantarella added.

On Tuesday, the families and council members plan to head to Albany since some of the proposed changes need approval from the state.

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