Art’s role in preventing traffic tragedies

Written by Bette Dewing on . Posted in Dewing Things Better, Our Town.


The continuing outrage that shouldn’t be ignored 
Don’t get me wrong, community groups do considerable good, but are not above some critiquing. Like my column chiding the 19th Precinct’s National Night Out Against Crime event for being too soft on crime-prevention talk and too heavy on refreshments and live music. Unfortunately, deleted for space, was my saying to the civically inactive citizenry, “No better way to overcome this inaction than to attend your local precinct’s community council meeting. Call 311 for information.”

The column also called for a National Night Out Against Traffic Crime. I was there at the northeast corner of 60th and Third, to reverently applaud this group’s vision and courage to put down a memorial stencil, one of eight recent traffic tragedy victim’s memorials they did that evening.dewing photo OT
These visuals are to remind us that a human being was needlessly killed here, and so often, as with 16-year-old Renee Thompson, because a vehicle, this time, a truck, turned into her crosswalk without yielding.
I also remembered my friend, Lillian Yellen, who had made traffic safety a top concern of her Temple Shaaray Tefila’s senior group. And then this so-careful pedestrian was killed by a truck at that very corner. Ah, if only all senior groups would have such a priority, and especially protest the most dangerous to pedestrians “failure to yield” crime of traffic. Demand as well media coverage of every traffic tragedy including those of elder victims too often overlooked.
As with 90-year-old Belle Moser, I’d not have known of her being stuck and cortically injured by a car turning in her 82nd and East End crosswalk had she not been a neighbor of a friend. She died after five weeks in Cornell Well’s I.C. U. Unit. And such untold suffering must also get out there.
Had it not been for the fatal crossing area being repaved, Right of Way/Time Out group led by Charles Komanoff, would have placed a memorial stencil at that corner to remember this widowed mother, grandmother, great grandmother and aunt. Ah, if only those white line crossing markings would include warnings to vehicle operators to slow down and yield to pedestrians before making a turn..
But this corner will one day have a life-saving street art memorial for Belle Moser. And featured in Belle Moser’s August 12th Times obituary was how “she had enriched the lives of family and friends with the bright colors of her paintings which reflected her love of the natural world and traced a full life from a childhood in Brooklyn to many summers in the Adirondack Mountains.’ There was a bit more about how much her family loved her and then it ended with “donations in her memory can be made to the 92Y Art School.”
And this militant advocate for elders as well as for traffic safety, believes in art to reflect elderhood and its often harsh realities. And with needless traffic tragedies, to reflect the suffering like Belle Moser endured. And, of course, art to reflect the endless mourning especially for young victims like Renee Thompson. Surely, you get the picture or pictures we need to get out there to raise awareness and action to overcome the crimes of traffic so often to blame – and too little punished.
Art to get attention paid!
dewingbetter@aol.

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