(Photo: Stephanie Keith/DNAinfo)
In November 2013, after Lucian Merryweather was killed by a motor vehicle driver on a Fort Greene sidewalk, Hilda Cohen wanted to act. A long-time street safety advocate, Hilda lived in the neighborhood where the crash happened. She organized her neighbors, under the name Make Brooklyn Safer, to go to the next 88th precinct community council meeting to demand action from local law enforcement.
OpenPlans set up a Shareabouts map for Make Brooklyn Safer, for area residents to mark hazardous traffic conditions. Residents can choose categories for their input such as “dangerous crossing” and “traffic does not yield”, as well as leave more detailed comments.
For the initial meeting between Make Brooklyn Safer and the 88th Precinct, OpenPlans used the data gathered to create printed maps of hotspots and priorities. These summaries are valuable for community meetings where people aren’t hooked up to the internet. (Explore all the print maps here.)
In Park Slope, the Park Slope Street Safety Partnership is also using a Sharebouts map to collect street and traffic data. They have already seen a response from their police precinct, 78, whose commanding officer Detective Inspector Michael Ameri has solicited lists of priority hotspots from the group.
With Mayor de Blasio’s promise to implement Vision Zero, we expect to see more organizations throughout NYC pushing for changes to their streets. Crowdsourcing with an online map is not only a good way to get a lot of information quickly, but it can also help validate that information, because it is commented on and corrected by other people.