“Criminality Suspected” Memorial Project

[See the calendar for a complete list of upcoming events!]

In 1996, Time’s Up! pioneers the Street Memorial Project, commemorating cyclists and pedestrians killed by motorists.

  • The Street Memorial Project creates silent but powerful memorials to draw attention to pedestrian and cyclist fatalities around the city through actions such as Stencil Memorials, Memorial Bike Rides, and candlelight vigils.
  • In collaboration with Right of Way, Time’s Up! volunteers identify intersections around the city that are especially dangerous to cyclists and pedestrians.
  • Captured by the media, these actions successfully raised public awareness on the need for improvements in the design of intersections, the creation of new bike lanes and motorist awareness campaigns, and harsher punishments for hit-and-run offenders.  This project has been vital to increasing non-polluting transportation because it enables cyclists to feel safer utilizing shared roadways.
  • The success of this project in New York City has inspired similar programs in other cities including Chicago and San Francisco.
  • Later this project also took on “Ghost Memorials,” which are white bicycles placed in spots cyclists were killed by vehicles, now prevalent in cities nationwide.

On Sunday, 4/14/13, cyclists affiliated with Time’s Up once again took to the streets of NYC with stencils and spray paint. Last month, the group targeted 8 locations where pedestrians and cyclists were killed by automobiles over the last year. In each case, the driver had clearly broken at least one traffic law, yet the NYPD declared “No Criminality Suspected” within hours and did not release their crash investigation reports to the public or the victims of the families.

CLICK HERE for photos of 4/4/13 Time’s Up Criminality Suspected Memorial Ride 

Last night the group targeted two locations, both in Brooklyn, where pedestrians were killed within the last month. At one site, in East Flatbush, two-year-old Denim McLean was killed at a bus stop when a car sped through a red light and careened onto the sidewalk. Ten others were hospitalized, including Denim’s mother, 37-year-old Wendy McLean, who was left in a coma. Not two weeks later, 83-year-old Irvin Gitlitz was killed in front of Atlantic Center. The truck that crushed him as he was crossing Flatbush Avenue was not equipped with the “crossover section mirrors” which allow drivers to see in front of their elevated cabs, and which have been required on trucks by New York State law since January of 2012. In both cases, the NYPD has declared “No Criminality Suspected.”

According to Keegan Stephan, one of the organizers of the action, “To us, these two cases exemplify the extent of traffic violence and the inadequate police response. No one is safe, from a two-year -old boy standing on the sidewalk to an 83-year-old trying to cross the street.  And no vehicular crime – from speeding, to running a red light, to driving on the sidewalk, to lacking mandatory safety equipment – is prosecuted by the NYPD.”

The group argues that as long as traffic violence goes unchecked, it will continue to be perpetuated. “As we biked through East Flatbush to the first stencil,” said Josh Bisker, another organizer, a car sped past us blaring its horn, nearly hitting us, and almost crashed into a couple pushing their stroller across the narrow street. They literally shrieked and jumped backwards out of the crosswalk, pulling the stroller with them. One block later, the car ran a red light without slowing down.”

At the second location, an approaching police vehicle caused the group to disperse mid-stencil. They returned later to finish the job. “It’s ironic,” remarked Stephan, “that our activities were more likely to be prosecuted than those of the driver who endangered our lives and those of that family in East Flatbush earlier the same night.”

The group vows to continue until the NYPD changes its policy of declaring “No Criminality Suspected” without releasing crash reports to the public.

CLICK LINKS below for additional relevant information

Last month’s Time’s Up No Criminality Suspected ride

NYC Living Street Will Project:

Video footage of Time’s Up! Memorial Project from 2001

Memorial Stencil by Brennan Cavanaugh

Creating Strencil by Brennan Cavanaugh

Memorial Stencil by Brennan Cavanaugh

Stencil Memorial by Brennan Cavanaugh