Volume 18 • Issue 7 | July 8-14, 2005

Letters to the editor

Unsafe at many speeds

To The Editor:
Your article about the guy killed on Houston St. filled me with rage (news article, June 24 – 30, “Biker killed on Houston St.). Once again the carelessness and ignorance of a truck driver ends someone’s life — and once again no arrests, no charges, no punishment. The same thing has happened to me many times as a cyclist — a car or truck will overtake and make a sharp turn right in front of me; last year I came off and my bike was crushed under a truck.

Something must be done about the culture of dangerous driving in New York. The cops, with their “[stuff] happens” attitude towards accidents, are as much to blame. Death by vehicle is the one surefire way of getting away with murder in this city. How many times do I have to read of a fatal accident in which witnesses say “he appeared to be speeding to make the light” yet no charges are filed? How many more children must die because of ignorant drivers turning at speed onto a crossing — drivers who know fine well all they have to say is “I didn’t see them” and they’re free to go home?

The incessant and unnecessary horn honking which blights the residents of Manhattan is proof of a deep-rooted culture of stupidity on our roads, the tragic results of which are more pointless fatalities every year. The traditional machismo and arrogance of New Yorkers, while entertaining for visitors, is no doubt the direct cause of so many needless deaths — deaths which go unpunished. Might I remind your readers that aside from natural factors beyond man’s control, there is no such thing as an “accident” — somebody is always at fault. Until there is anything approaching a real deterrent for stupidity on the roads, more and more people like Andrew Morgan will have their lives cut short — and it’s one of this city’s biggest scandals. I hope the riders of Critical Mass never give up - I will definitely be joining them next time.
William Lawson

Cultivating Hanover support

To The Editor:
We wanted to take this opportunity to address your recent article about the British Memorial Garden planned for Hanover Square (News article, June 17 –23, “Garden variety debate at Hanover square”).

First, in October 2002 the British Memorial Garden Trust established a Downtown Community Liaison Committee which includes representatives from all of the buildings surrounding Hanover Square, including No. 3.

All of the meetings of the committee have been open to these building representatives. We have met all of the city regulatory requirements, appearing before the Art Commission and Community Board 1. We have listened carefully to all public comments about the garden’s design.

Among the changes we have made at the community’s request are the addition of more benches and the removal of a planned drinking fountain. It is, after all, to be a New York City public park. From the beginning, we have striven for a partnership between the community groups and residents, while working closely with the Department of Parks & Recreation on developing the project. Their concerns are our concerns.

Secondly, although the British Memorial Garden at Hanover Square grew out of a tragedy, it is not just a memorial to the British victims of 9/11. Its stated mission in all public materials is that it is also to be a place to celebrate the historic friendship between the United States and the United Kingdom. It is meant as a place of both reflection and recreation.

Nothing could be further from a cemetery than the people-friendly green space now being built. We have taken great pains to make the Downtown community aware of the plans for the British Memorial Garden, and to include the public in the process of creating it. We have also maintained an active public relations campaign which has garnered a great deal of press coverage about the project in local and citywide press.

We also keep our Web site, britishmemorialgarden.org, updated on an almost daily basis on the progress of the garden and alerting the public to free events sponsored by the Trust.

The article you wrote implies that we have not taken all of these steps to insure that the residents of Hanover Square and the Downtown community are involved in every way possible in the creation of the British Memorial Garden. To the contrary, we welcome their input and always have.
Camilla G. Hellman
British Memorial Garden Trust president

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