“Cold enough for you?”
The traffic cop that asked me this on the Brooklyn side of the Brooklyn Bridge had a look of anticipation on his face, what was exposed of his face at least. At first I was a bit annoyed, as he had been standing in the bike lane, so that I had to stop and I missed the light.
The temperature was about to break 16 degrees (F), but wind chill made it feel much worse. I asked him if he possibly did a little dance to stay warm sometimes, “You know,” I said, “also to keep the drivers entertained.” He told me no, but that it was a good idea. We kept chatting, he started to smile. I was certainly no longer annoyed.
I saw him the next day, and the day after that he started the conversation where we left off the last time. He was already smiling when I left as the light changed, with a “Have a good weekend!” shouted by both of us, at the same time. Jinx. Each time I see him now, he jumps aside, with a big smile on his face. Yesterday he even held a car back to let me through.
My thoughts for the past few days, and weeks even, have been on how positive I feel lately, as an advocate for Safer Streets. I am constantly reminded of the horrors, the unfair tragedies, the pain of survivors of traffic violence. Recently, however, I am reminded more of the positives, and I am focusing on these. Nothing helps me remember what I am fighting for more than a trip on our city streets, at human speed, and the interactions that result. I like to think that we can make these interactions positive; I believe we have that ability.
And right now is an amazing time to be an advocate for Safe, Livable and Complete Streets. Policies are changing, politicians and the press are speaking our language, and we live in a city that has already made, and is pushing for more changes that will make our streets safer. Vision Zero has the promise of top-down change.
But it also feels like it can stop at any moment, if we don’t keep fighting for it to happen.
“Sometimes it falls to citizens to bring local governments’ attention to pressing safety issues.
This was said by Conrad Lumm of RoadTrafficSigns.com, who has generously provided Right of Way with signs to allow us citizens to push our local governments. Come join us on March 15th in Jackson Heights, and Ft. Greene, and Prospect Heights, and Clinton Hill and UWS. And on March 16th in Astoria, and East Village, and West Village, and Jamaica and Greenpoint.
We will raise our voices, and raise our signs, in celebration and support of lower speeds that will save lives. We will remind ourselves, and our neighbors that we want this, and we will fight for this. Our actions show support for the government agencies that want to make these changes; our actions show our neighbors that the change starts with us.
Email us at MakeBrooklynSafer@gmail.com to help in Ft. Greene. Get in on the action. Get positive about the change you can make.