Community Board 7 voted nearly unanimously Wednesday night to name the section of West 97th Street between Amsterdam Avenue and Broadway after Ariel Russo, a four-year-old girl who was killed at the intersection this summer by a speeding, unlicensed driver.
Sofia Russo, Ariel Russo’s mother, urged the committee to approve the name change.
“Nothing could have prepared us for this loss and this pain,” Russo said at the meeting. “My husband and I are doing everything that we possibly can to prevent this from happening again.”
Russo said that she and her husband are urging the City Council to restrict police chases in school zones. Given the four-minute delay in getting an ambulance to the scene after the crash, they are “fighting to ensure that 911 technology and procedures work every time.”
“Throughout all of this, the Upper West Side community has allowed me and my family to lean on them, and I have come to fully understand that our daughter, Ariel, did not live and die in vain,” Russo said. “She was here to fill us all with love and inspiration.”
The resolution was approved by CB7’s transportation committee last month with a stipulation that the sign would mention Russo’s age. The City Council will vote on the name by the end of the month.