Sunday, December 21, 2014

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Dozens Call for Action As They Remember Woman Struck, Killed by Bus in Brooklyn

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In what is best described as part vigil and part call for action, dozens gathered Sunday to remember a young woman who was hit and killed by a bus in Brooklyn. NY1's Michael Herzenberg filed the following report.

At a vigil Sunday, speaker after speaker pleaded and advocated for pedestrian safety at the intersections of Palmetto Street and Wyckoff and Myrtle Avenues, where an MTA bus hit Ella Bandes as she crossed nearly one year ago. The 23-year-old died days later.

"She was an amazing person," said one friend. "Sorry. I still can't believe she's actually gone."

Her friends still struggle to find peace, something her parents may never have.

"Our lives are totally shattered," said Judy Kottick, Bandes' mother. "We'll never be the same."

They organized this vigil with others who have lost loved ones after vehicles hit them.

"Make this a priority," said Ken Bandes, Ella Bandes' father. "Put resources to it."

They want change citywide, carrying banners with the name of the nearly 300 pedestrians or cyclists killed by vehicles in 2013, and nearly 20 this year, supporting Mayor Bill de Blasio's plan to reduce these deaths to zero in a decade.

"Too many people are dying from traffic accidents," Kottick said. "This is a walking pedestrian city."

De Blasio is calling on the state legislature to help put up more speed cameras. He also says he'll improve at least 50 dangerous areas a year and quadruple the amount of 20-mile-per-hour zones in 4 years. Some want that max of 20 citywide.

Q: This 20-mile-per-hour speed limit, is that a realistic hope?
Deputy Brooklyn Borough President Diana Reyna: I don't know. I think there's going to be much debate about whether or not this is going to be realistic, but we can certainly try.

As for this intersection, the Department of Transportation says pedestrian countdown signals have been added, and it's working on further improvements to be put before the community board in the spring.

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