Residents call for safer streets, gather on Milwaukee's north side

On Monday afternoon, dozens of people gathered along Capitol Drive, near 31st Street, to urge drivers to slow down in an event called "Rally for Safe Streets."

As they rallied, a 15-year-old girl named Tiana, took a few steps in her hospital room for the first time since a car accident last week that nearly killed her.

An SUV ran a red light at 35th Street and Capitol Drive, crashing into the car Tiana was a passenger in. Her cousin, Shakela Rhodes, died in the crash. So did Shakela's 11-month-old daughter, Aaliyah. The driver of the SUV, Reggie Gaston, fled the crash scene.

"He took off like he has no heart," said Shakela's aunt, Annette Beasley. "A mother and baby are dead, and a young woman badly hurt, because of something that was completely preventable. These drivers don't care about anyone else."

The community that lives and works along Capitol Drive does care, and they're doing whatever they can do get the attention of reckless drivers and city leaders.

"We're scared to drive our cars down these streets," said Barbara Moore who works nearby at the Northwest Side Community Development Corporation. "We should have to live like this. I witness dangerous driving every day out here. It's not a joke. People are dying."

While they're pushing for red light cameras and for officers to patrol and issue more tickets, they know police and cameras can only do so much.  The solution starts at home.

"Have a conversation with your friends and family members," Moore said. "Talk about the importance of safe driving. Drivers are taking innocent lives, well all it takes is just being more responsible."

This community plans to hold more safe-driving rallies, to brainstorming solutions, and put pressure on elected officials. If you'd like to help, contact the Northwest Side Community Development Corporation. 

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