Photo: Sarah Kramer
Mural Support on 3rd Ave
A stop sign with a human face is rising over Third Avenue.
A group of traffic safety activists have paired with Boerum Hill teenagers to create a memorial mural commemorating three children who were killed while crossing the busy truck route.
The figures in the mural are boldly-painted, like the “ghost” bikes that hang on lampposts where bicyclists have been killed. But unlike the bikes, they are huge, monumental representations that loom above the street.
Such a depiction was intentional, said lead artist Christopher Cardinale.
“Cars are much bigger than pedestrians,” he said. “But the ideal street is one where cars, bikers and pedestrians are in equal balance. Allowing people to see that image is the first step towards making it reality.”
James Rice was 4 when he lost his life to a speeding Hummer SUV at a Baltic Street crosswalk in February. Rice was crossing the street with the light, obeying all traffic laws. The driver who killed him received only a ticket for failure to yield.
Juan Estrada and Victor Flores, both fifth graders at PS 124 in Park Slope, were fatally struck almost exactly two years earlier while crossing the avenue at a Ninth Street crosswalk. They were also killed while crossing the intersection with the light. The driver said that he hadn’t noticed them walking.
The mural, a creation of Transportation Alternatives and Groundswell Community Mural Project, is an attempt to remind people of the human told of road carelessness, the artists say.
“Drivers are always trying to beat the light,” said muralist Laquon Wheeler, 18. “Hopefully, if they look up and see these young kids on the wall, they’ll remember to slow down and stop driving crazy.”
After the 2004 deaths of Estrada and Flores, the Department of Transportation promised $4 million worth of traffic safety improvements for Third Avenue. Those fixes, known as the Downtown Brooklyn Traffic-Calming Plan, were never made, according to Transportation Alternatives.
DOT spokesman Ted Timbers said this week that construction on the road improvements would begin next spring.
“Included will be sidewalk extensions that are designed explicitly to slow vehicles and reduce risks to pedestrians,” Timbers said.
all images, copyright © 2001-2008 christopher cardinale
web design: sharon kwik