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Families, safety groups demanding action after spate of hit-and-runs in New York City

Families, safety groups demanding action after spate of hit-and-runs in NYC
Families, safety groups demanding action after spate of hit-and-runs in NYC 02:24

NEW YORK -- There have been at least five hit-and-runs across the city since Monday.

On Sunday, families in Queens demanded action on what was World Day of Remembrance for road traffic victims.

Shoes, strollers, and scooters sat on the Astoria Park grass, an eerie representation of people of all ages who have died in crashes on city roadways.

"We must ... prioritize the safety of our children," said Martha Valenzuela, member of the organization Families for Safe Streets.

READ MOREMotorcyclist in Queens critically hurt in 1 of at least 6 hit-and-runs in 7 days in New York City

Families for Safe Streets cites at least 223 fatalities among New Yorkers and more than 4,000 seriously injured in traffic-related incidents this year alone.

"Included in this devastating number of fatalities are 27 cyclists, 80 pedestrians, and 10 children. These people should all be here with us and with their loved ones," member Julie Huntington said.

In one week, there have been at least five hit and runs citywide, including three within a 24-hour span.

On Saturday night, a car struck a 26-year-old motorcyclist in Astoria, sending his bike flying into a grocery store. The driver sped off.

Manuel Larino is mourning the loss of his sister, Karina, who was killed at a crosswalk.

"I hope that her memory continues to serve to save more lives," Manuel Larino said.

On Sunday, members of Families for Safe Streets marched to several deadly crash sites in Astoria and laid yellow flowers.

City Comptroller Brad Lander joined and demanded tougher legislation.

"Now we have nothing that's holding the most reckless drivers accountable," Lander said. "We could rise up and do something together about it."

Victims' families told CBS New York they have seen changes to the intersections, including traffic light patterns, but are asking for more to be done.

"Mandatory daylighting of all our intersections, bulb outs, raised crosswalks, curbs, jersey barriers," said CJ Wojtkowski Bretillon, a volunteer for Transportation Alternatives. "Extended crosswalk times, bump-outs in the street to slow traffic."

Families who otherwise wouldn't have known each other are now bonding through grief and calling for safer streets for all.

Neither the mayor's office nor the city's Department of Transportation have returned CBS New York's requests for comment.

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