Two years after 11-year-old Christopher Scott was hit by a car and killed while riding his bike on the Clearview Expressway service road at 46th Avenue, the pedestrian bridge spanning the highway was officially dedicated as Christophers Crossing in a ceremony Saturday morning.
More than 100 people turned out for the renaming service, which was both a celebration of Christophers short life and a continuation of the community protests surrounding safety concerns at the crossing that followed his death.
This bridge, Christophers Crossing, will outlive all of us and serve as a reminder of a great young man, said Bernard Haber, who was chairman of Community Board 11 when Scott was killed on Aug. 17 2000. The driver was not charged.
The legislation renaming the bridge was sponsored by state Sen. Frank Padavan (R-Bellerose) and state Assemblywoman Ann-Margaret Carrozza (D-Bayside) and was signed into law last August by Gov. George Pataki.
In addition to a green sign with white letters that reads Christophers Crossing, a plaque honoring Scott and John Shim, an 11-year-old boy killed in a similar accident at the foot of the overpass in 1994, was erected by the Bayside Kiwanis Club. A small tree was planted at the foot of the bridge in Christophers memory.
Family members, friends and elected officials spun tales of a young boy who had a deep sense of himself and his family and who loved to ride his bike and play baseball and basketball. He had graduated from PS 162 two months before his death.
The crowd included about 25 young ballplayers in uniform from the Bayside Little League, where Christopher was an all-star pitcher who once struck out 17 batters in one game.
He was three years younger than me, but he had the strongest arm I ever saw, said David Krump, one of Scotts best friends. I was afraid to catch his balls.
Christophers mother, Virginia Scott, father, Omrie Scott, and grandmother, Loretta Napier, all addressed the gathering.
Even though Christopher was here for a short time, we taught him how to show love, Virginia Scott said, taking note of the large group that gathered to remember her son. He spread it all over.
Carrozza said Christophers death was singlehandedly responsible for safety improvements to prevent another thing like this from happening to another family.
Following his death, Baysiders rallied for changes at the accident site, resulting in the city Department of Transportations banning bike riding on the bridge and installing stanchions and painting white lines to push traffic away from the overpass entrance.
But East Bayside Homeowners Association President Frank Skala said the community will not rest until a traffic light or stop sign is installed at the intersection of the service road and 46th Avenue. The DOT has repeatedly said the light is not necessary, citing two traffic studies that show the road is lightly used.
We can do something about what happened here, Skala said, beginning a fiery five-minute oration calling for a traffic light or stop sign. We can make sure it doesnt happen again.
Ebony Williams, another of Christophers best friends, was too overcome with emotion to get through her speech. She passed the text, called Just a Little Message to Christopher, on to Carrozza, who read to the crowd.
Christopher, I miss you very much. Things are not the same since you left, the assemblywoman read. I will always think about you and wish you were here.
Reach reporter Daniel Massey by e-mail at Timesledger@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 156.
©2002 Community News Group
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