As NYC traffic deaths pile up, advocates march through Astoria to call for street redesigns

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By Dan Sears

Street safety advocates marched through Astoria, Queens on Sunday, demanding Mayor Eric Adams and the city Department of Transportation do more to reduce traffic violence across the five boroughs.

Julie Huntington, the chair of policy for the group Families for Safe Streets, said during the rally that “every crash in this city is a preventable and a policy failure.”

More than 223 people have been killed by drivers in the city so far this year, according to city data. And at least 247 people were killed in crashes in 2022, Adams’ first year in office.

The march took the demonstrators to three different intersections near Astoria Park where people were killed by reckless drivers. Family members of the people killed at each crash site mourned together in solidarity. Many held signs that read “Safe Streets Now” and “Traffic Violence Destroys Families” and held yellow flowers to be dropped off at makeshift vigils at the intersections.

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The stops included the location where 38-year-old Karina Larino was fatally run over by an SUV driver in May while she walked home from work. Larino’s daughter, Olive Vasquez, said simple changes to the city’s infrastructure could have prevented her mother’s death.

“More cameras, more stop signs, lower speed limits would definitely help prevent stuff like this,” said Vasquez, 21. “We’re here today in support of other families also that have experienced similar things to us, just to show love and support each other and also in hopes that we can make a few changes legally to prevent this from happening to other families,”

Vasquez stood next to her grandmother, Carmen Larino, who couldn’t hold back her tears.

The march came as advocates have grown more critical of the Adams administration for scaling back previously planned street safety redesigns. The demonstrators on Sunday specifically called for for the city to lower its 25 mph speed limit, add more open streets where cars are banned during parts of the week, and to “daylight” more intersections, or redesign them so parking is banned near intersections to make pedestrians more visible to motorists.

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Representatives from the city DOT did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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