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Parents and leaders call for action over recent deaths of young Chicago pedestrians


After a toddler was killed in Lincoln Square while riding a scooter, neighbors gathered to honor his memory and to call on drivers to change their behavior and officials to pass new legislation to help to protect pedestrians.

Neighbors gathered for a block party in honor of 2-year-old Rafi Cardenas on Wednesday night. Cardenas is one of at least three children who have been killed this month in incidents involving automobiles, and community members are working to prevent tragedies from happening in the future.

“We chose this neighborhood because we thought it was a safe neighborhood for us to move around in, and obviously recent events have called that into question,” Cardenas’ father Elliot Luke said.

On June 2, Cardenas was run over by a driver while riding a mini-scooter, one of many tragedies in recent weeks.

On June 9 in Uptown, a 3-year-old girl was struck and killed while riding a bicycle with her mother. Finally, last week in Lawndale, a getaway driver struck and killed an 11-year-old boy as he crossed a street.

From now on, the parents are calling on the aldermen to act and the drivers to slow down.

“Even for me, it’s more about slowing down and being more aware (while driving),” said Crystal Avenetti.

Matt Martin, alderman of the 47 of the citye Ward, asks the city council to pass a new ordinance encouraging safer streets and intersections.

“Different people have different experiences, but at the end of the day, we have these common concerns about bike and pedestrian safety not where we want it to be,” he said.

The rally in Lincoln Square was not just a space to enjoy camaraderie with neighbors, but also a place to grieve and generate ideas in hopes of helping create safer streets for all.

“Everywhere you go is someone’s neighborhood, and I think it’s easy to forget when you’re driving, but on every block there are children. There are families there,” Luke said.

The driver who hit Cardenas was not named in the accident, but police said an investigation was still ongoing.

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