Yield to pedestrians, stop speeding and support mass transit for safer streets
By Bette Dewing
Just before the mayor’s weekly John Gambling WOR radio show, I heard the following public service announcement: “Parking violations violate the rights of disabled persons. Call 311 to report.” But where are the warnings to drivers and cyclists against their moving violations, which take lives and physically injure and emotionally stress even traffic law-observant pedestrians?
While the 19th Precinct got back to me on two Upper East Side daytime traffic tragedies, further permission is needed to get their names for the critical follow-up about the condition of the woman, age 80, whose legs were crushed by a tractor-trailer turning into her crosswalk. But what’s the mayor doing to stop this most deadly crime of traffic? A fatally injured man, age 76, was struck by a yellow cab, which a Daily News witness said was speeding—where’s the move to lower the speed limit to reduce death and injury, and also to lower the cost of these accidents and gasoline use? A “safety first” mayor would rescind those cuts in mass transit, the safest travel mode!
Little, if any, follow-up coverage was given the drunk-driver killing of Nelson Mandela’s great-granddaughter, 13, after a Word Cup concert. Little remembered is the killing of this legendary hero’s eldest son in a 1960s traffic tragedy—or Mandela’s words: “It leaves a sorrow which will never go away.”
The mayor spoke briefly of a recent visit with his elder mother in Massachusetts: “How is she?” “Well, she ate more than I did!” Laughter, but nothing about what she said, or that being 100 is difficult, even for the wealthy.
If only the mayor and Gambling, too, had attended the International Longevity Center’s five-day conference held in its gracious, high-ceilinged brownstone at 60 E. 86th St. We heard presenters from myriad age-related fields of physical and mental health, science, government and the private sector, talking about what’s being done to meet healthcare needs, especially of the large, aging Boomer group: “Preventing and treating Alzheimer’s must become as huge a worldwide collective mission as AIDS!” “The need for more geriatricians and general practitioners is critical!”
Dr. Robert Butler, host, president and founder of the International Longevity-Center-USA, is a pioneer gerontologist, long associated with Mount Sinai Medical Center. His book, Why Survive? Being Old in America won a Pulitzer. His latest, The Longevity Prescription, was just released. Butler now knows the elder experience, as did three attending journalists, but only I knew the distinction of needing a cane. Yes, I said “distinction,” and authorities at the conference believe the lack of respect for elders and their disabilities exacerbate “aging problems” and limit treatment. Indeed, while Butler’s earlier book, Ageism, strongly challenged this prejudice, an ever more youth-driven culture and media have made it socially acceptable.
Being providentially assigned a seat next to Leigh Donaldson, a thirtysomething black journalist from Maine, provided me interaction often missing in our age-
segregated society. For one thing, his better hearing was often a help. And we surely agreed in everyone sharing the talk. To be continued. The center’s website is www.ilcusa.org, and email is firstname.lastname@example.org. The telephone is 212-288-1468. The “real mail” address is 60 E. 86th St., New York, N.Y. 10028.
Very health-care related: heartfelt thanks to two Yorkville school crossing guards retiring this week. Protecting life and limb at considerable risk to themselves are Maryann Medaglio, for her 29 years at 79th and York, and Margaret Novak, for her 18 years at 78th and York, and 12 years at 82nd and Second. You are our heroes!
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