Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Last Night, a memorial for Hope Miller

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Yesterday, 6:30pm, with the night time construction of a mangled Houston Street as a backdrop, Time's Up held a memorial for Hope Miller who was killed by a car on September 25th, last week. According to the NYTImes, Ms. Miller, an actor from Queens, was struck down by a truck while crossing the street at 6th and Houston. The Driver, a man from Brooklyn, was arrested by the police trying to flee the scene and was found to be driving while under the influence of drugs when he ran down the young 28 year old woman.

Gothamist reported that Miller was an aspiring actor on her way to acting class.

This marks the 4th fatality on Houston Street of pedestrians and cyclists within the last 2 years.

Houston street has becomed mired in controversy due to the number of deaths and to the massive construction that has been taking place there.

Local community residents, working with City Councilman Alan Gerson have been fervently working to make Houston Street safer for cyclists and pedestrians. The idea of putting in bike lanes was struck down by the City because they claimed there was no room. Local community board 2 then opted for alternative lanes on Bleeker and Prince streets as reported on by Streetsblog in April of 07.

Councilman Gerson has resorted to sueing the Department of Transportation and the city itself, alleging the Houston Street project "constitutes a present and future public nuisance and health, safety, and welfare hazard to area and community pedestrians and to bicycle riders."

About 30 people came with flowers, candles, cameras and their dedication to a better city to pay respects, speakout and listen to those involved in the issues of a street that is unsafe and emblimatic of our lack of infustructure for pedestrians and bikers.

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Yesterday was not just a chance for reflection but a platform for people to air views about a situation that doesn't seem to be improving.

Bill Depola spoke first about how talk is cheap and visual reminders like the ghost bikes and dedication plaques are a positive way to increase awarness of the problem.

Then Council member Gerson spoke about when is our city going to make pedestrian safety priority number one. He wanted to know when this is going to end? Gerson beleives New York City should be a model for the world of how a city should be structured for public safety. He told the crowd not to give up and that their vigilance should inspire government officials to act.IMG_9851.JPG

Then Charlie Komanoff spoke from Right of way. He wanted to make several points.
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1) was that the corner of Houston Street and 6th Ave. right behind the memorial was a park that was at the center activists trying to stop the bike ban. 20 years ago in the park bike messengers and community activists worked together to stop Mayor Koch for imposing a bicycle ban from midtown. It was a fitting place for people to commorate someones tragic death due to the automobile.

2) it was Mahatma Gandhi's Birthday.

3) That it was 10 years ago that a 6 year old boy form the South Bronx was killed by a motor vechile, Dante Curry. Charlie spoke about how Evelyn Cancel, Dante's mother, will never get over the tragic loss of her son, but knowing that people still care and create memorials is an inspiration for her and her pain.

Other people spoke to about the disruption of Houston Street. Candles were lit and a memorial stencil was created on the street in honor of Hope Miller as well as the unveiling of her plaque which hangs on the metal fence on the South East corner of 6th and Houston.
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More of my pictures of the memorial are on flickr slideshow

Somehow with all this fuss and focus on one of the most heavily used artieres in Manhattan, we still find ourselves hanging plaques, painting ghost bikes and honoring our fellow killed citizens. While the jackhammers continue to roar and traffic gets backed up along 6th Ave. maybe we can build memorial Gaps and Banna Republics to honor those who died so we could make more room for big box corporate chain stores and less space for those who live here. Somehow Billionaire Mayor Bloomberg has time to go to Paris to see how their bicycle program is working to increase public safety, but not enough time to address his own citys urban clusterfucks that are killing us.
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7 Comments:

Anonymous Dustin said...

I so happy to have come across your blog entry regarding Hope Miller. Hope was a good friend of my wife. They attended classes together while at MSUM and we even went to New York to visit her as well as sight see. As it always does, life got busy and it was more difficult to keep in touch. Thanks for providing pics on your site. I'm emailing this entry to others who knew her.

12:05 PM  
Blogger variety photoplays said...

Dustin,

Glad you found this webpage. I am sorry for the loss to you and yours.

Do also check out the website for the Streets Memorials project as well as Time's Up!. These are two allied groups that have worked hard to honor, respect and bring attention to the pedestrian and bicycling fatalities brought on by automobiles.

http://www.streetmemorials.org/

http://www.times-up.org


Philipp

PS: great entry, Mike!

12:38 PM  
Anonymous Pam said...

Thank you for keeping Hope's memory alive!! She was a very good friend of mine and I can't put into words how losing her has affected me. I can't thank you enough for giving her such a memorail and honoring her beautiful spirit. God bless all those that have lost someone.

3:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My daughter was such a vibrant young woman full of hope's and dreams so alive and pursuing her dreams far from her family and loved ones and that as all tragically and senslessly ended in a moment of time. We can't get her back but we can help stop the terror for others. Please let us know what we can do to help. We have so little information and just found this site with the help of a friend this morning. This is more than a political statement to me, this is my sweet baby girl unprotected in a city of millions! And I want to try to make some sense of this all. Hope,s mom, Patti Miller

9:32 PM  
Blogger Michael Green said...

Hello Patti Miller. Wondering if I could get your email address. There is someone in NYC working on a support network for families who have experienced your loss in a similar way. If you feel inclined, let me know at: criticalmassbiker@mac.com

3:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

omg my name is hope miller and i live in houston!! that is a terrible coincidence !!! this scares me just a smige :/ and im 13and she was 28 thats not that many years in between

7:16 PM  
Blogger sunrunner said...

today oct 11 09 i heard the heartbreaking passing of Hope Miller of whom i have never met.i worked with her killer for 2 weeks in 07.he was not a nice man though he was seeking help.he too has passed of an unknown medical condition which my acquaintance said could have contributed to this horrible occurence.i am truly sorry to all and may Hope rest in heaven.

8:57 PM  

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