By Stella Bonaparte "Collingswood Streets: Citizens for Biking and Walking"
A vigil was held by Collingswood Streets members and other local citizens as an impromptu response to the killing of a 90 year old local man he tried to cross the street near his home. Bruno Dziedzicki was killed by the driver of a pickup- the driver was reported to be a Collingswood man. Collingswood Streets member and local bikeshare volunteer mechanic Scott Shannon suggested the vigil, the group mobilized instantly and on Wednesday night at 5:30pm 13 people and a trusty dog were present to honor Mr. Dziedzicki and all pedestrians who have been killed in NJ.
The area where the man was hit, Collings Avenue & Calvert in Haddon Township, is a short block from Route 130, the "most dangerous street for pedestrians in the state of NJ". We stood with signs that read "Pedestrian Deaths are Not Acceptable", "Town, County, State: Make NJ Roads Safe for Everyone", "Slow Down", "Get off Your Phone", "Bruno Dziedzicki Died Here", "My Friend Sean Died Here", and one sign made by a 6 year old boy read "Don’t Run People Over. It is Bad!"
A cameraman from channel 6 took some footage. As we stood there, we observed the dangerous crossing conditions at this intersection where a church advertises daily meals for the needy. Speeding motorists whipped around the corner from 130, and numerous people were spotted using cell phones while driving. Collingswood Streets does not accept pedestrian deaths as a matter of course in our town and will continue to advocate for redesign of streets to include consideration of people on foot and cyclists.
On a personal note, a boy I went to high school with died nearby while trying to cross the street- he was 16 years old. He never got to live his life. There is something wrong with our society's priorities when we allow our most vulnerable citizens- our children, elderly, and differently-abled people- to be killed because we are afraid of angering motorists or changing the status quo. We would like to see all of our local municipalities make a commitment to true equality by implementing and enforcing Complete Streets policies.
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