Brooklyn mural uses signs to remember slain children, call for action

The corner of Butler Street and 3rd Avenue is painted with a startling reminder to drive carefully, with a mural depicting three children killed in car-on-pedestrian accidents. The Brooklyn, New York site is only a block away from the streetcorner where four-year-old James Rice was hit by an oncoming car. James was crossing the street, in the crosswalk, with the light. He was hit by a Hummer. He died. The driver of the Hummer was cited for failure to yield.

The surrounding blocks

In 2005, two fifth graders at PS 124 were crossing 3rd at Ninth Street. The driver who killed them said that he couldn’t see them. They were too short, never mind that they were crossing with the light, in the crosswalk.

Details of the mural painted to remember
lives, and to discourage unnecessary deaths.

In response to these tragedies and the larger problem of distracted driving that they represent, local teenage artists painted a mural in 2007 showing the slain children holding street signs. The signs ask drivers to be careful, to watch out for kids, and to be courteous to cyclists.  The mural, just as beautiful as ever, according to one SmartSign staffer who discovered it on her way to work, also has a poignant message that, unfortunately, remains necessary.

Relatives of James Rice standing before a mural dedicated to his memory, at the mural’s unveiling.

– R. Fogel