coopers way3
Dana Lerner (in maroon shirt) speaks at a ceremony unveiling a street sign to honor her son. Photo by Helen Rosenthal.

The city unveiled a street sign at 97th street and West End Avenue Wednesday to honor Cooper Stock, the 9-year-old hit and killed by a taxi driver while crossing that block in January 2014. Cooper’s friends from the Calhoun School were there to honor him and to advocate for better street safety on the Upper West Side.

Cooper’s mother Dana Lerner spoke out at the naming ceremony, addressing her son.

“Now your name is on the street where you lived for nine years,” Lerner said. “It is here for the worst possible reason. What people need to understand when they look at this sign is that you were the innocent victim of the reckless driving epidemic.”

Cooper’s friends remembered him as a kid with a great sense of humor and a love for basketball and Shirley Temple.

Much has happened in response to Cooper’s death. West End Avenue was redesigned from 72nd street to 107th to attempt to slow traffic, the most notorious intersections now have concrete medians and new turning rules, and police have begun to increase ticketing for driving infractions like failure to yield. “Cooper’s Law” forces the TLC to suspend cabbies’ licenses if they kill or injure pedestrians or bicyclists who have the right of way. Families of people killed by drivers, including Cooper’s family, have organized to force action.

But advocates say that the city and community board still have a ways to go, and police and the district attorney still treat virtually all deadly crashes as “accidents” even when the driver is at fault. At a Tuesday Community Board meeting, students spoke out about the issue. The taxi driver who hit Cooper received a $580 fine and no jail time.

Family and Friends Dedicate Cooper Stock Way from STREETFILMS on Vimeo.

NEWS | 6 comments | permalink
    1. Scott says:

      The sign won’t make things better. What will honor Cooper Stock’s legacy is to change the law to make the killing of a pedestrian who is legally crossing in a crosswalk the same as rear-ending and killing another driver. Why should someone have fewer rights just because they’re not in a steel shell?

    2. Out of 3 cab rides this week, two drivers were texting on their cellphones while racing up Amsterdam Avenue until I yelled at them. What would happen if I dialed 911 and the police? Nothing most definitely – and the police would probably think I was overreacting… And, some on the City Council want to let people urinate in our streets, jump turnstiles and drink alcohol in the streets – because we know they will not pay any civil fines – Welcome Back to Crap NYC.

    3. P'd Off says:

      People still speed across 97st to get to WEA even with all of the new changes. There really need to be speed bumps or stop signs mid block btween Bway and WEA. They need to prevent drivers from racing to get through the light to turn left on WEA. I suppose it’s tempting for many drivers as it is the 2nd to last light before they can get on the highway. But the changes done so far are not enough. Sadly.

      • Upper West Side Wally says:

        Hear, hear! Give me one dollar for every car that runs a red light on both WEA and 97th, and I’ll retire for life.
        Favorite ‘trick’: When driving west on 97th move to the far -right- lane, bypassing the line, and floor it when making a -left- turn; pedestrians be damned.
        Cameras would help, even if they are not active, but I guess Albany won’t hear of it. Trouble enough getting cameras for school zones.