Tuesday’s Headlines: Hunger Strike Edition

Families for Safe Streets members Amy Cohen and Fabiola Mendieta-Cuapio will start a hunger strike today.
Families for Safe Streets members Amy Cohen and Fabiola Mendieta-Cuapio will start a hunger strike today.

The big story today is that two members of Families for Safe Streets — Amy Cohen (the group’s co-founder) and Fabiola Mendieta-Cuapio — will begin a hunger strike at the state Capitol to protest the state legislature’s failure to pass a bill to allow New York City to set its own speed limits. (amNY also covered.)

The bill — known as Sammy’s Law — is named after Cohen’s son, Sammy Cohen-Eckstein, who was killed by a speeding driver in Brooklyn in 2013. Since that horrific day, Amy Cohen has channeled her grief into activism, and has achieved so many successes: the creation of Vision Zero, the deployment of speed cameras, the expansion of speed cameras, retiring unsympathetic lawmakers, the installation of protected bike lanes all over the place.

Some of those things were controversial, but Sammy’s Law is not: We know that a pedestrian, if struck by a car at 40 miles per hour, has a 50-50 shot at survival. But if the car is only going 20, the survival rate jumps to 90 percent. Sammy might be graduating college now if that driver had been going only 20 on Prospect Park West.

Julianne Cuba will be in Albany today to chronicle the moral clarity and physical courage of Cohen and Mendieta-Cuapio, whose son, Bryan, was also killed by a driver. Let’s hope state legislators, including Speaker Heastie (who did not respond to questions for this story), stop by this week for a healthy serving of humility and service.

In other news:

  • Today’s must-read is John Surico’s study of micro-mobility for the Center for an Urban Future.
  • Do you like Mr. Bean? Well, he doesn’t like electric cars anymore. (The Guardian)
  • A reckless and possibly drunk driver killed one person and injured four more in a crash in Gramercy Park. (amNY, NYDN, NY Post, amNY)
  • The Daily News followed the subway platform gate story.
  • Larry Penner is pushing federal ferry financing. (Mass Transit)
  • Car carnage in Queens — but isn’t it amazing how the Daily News continues to think these kinds of crashes are just one-offs? Even when the paper’s photographers get a clear image of the license plate, reporters at New York’s Hometown Paper refuse to run the plate to check for prior recklessness. In this case, the paper only offered us a picture of the car that got hit (which had six camera-issued speeding tickets and two red-light tickets in just three years, according to city records), but still…
  • And, finally, Streetsblog continues to get action over its ghost plate investigation, as reporter Jesse Coburn reported on Twitter: