Spate of pedestrian deaths prompts calls for traffic safety

lucian merryweather
Chalk messages, flowers and police tape remain at the Fort Greene street corner where 9-year-old Lucian Merryweather was killed by an SUV two weeks ago.
Credit: Bess Adler, Metro

So far this has been a bloody week for pedestrians in New York City.

On Tuesday morning, a 47-year-old man was struck and killed by a car while crossing the street in Queens. On Monday, a 65-year-old woman in East Harlem was hit and killed by a box truck. A few hours before that, two pedestrians were killed when a 22-year-old lost control of his Camaro and jumped the curb on Queens Boulevard.

With a seeming uptick in traffic injuries and fatalities, some are wondering if the city could do more to prevent such tragedies.

Some safety advocates, like Transportation Alternatives, argue that the city is not doing nearly enough. They’re calling for a two-pronged approach: an increase in police response and more expansive infrastructural change.

The deaths that have garnered the most attention have been those of young children.

Lucian Merryweather, 9, was killed Nov. 2 on a quiet street corner in residential Fort Greene. A few weeks earlier, 12-year-old Sammy Cohen-Eckstein was killed right off Prospect Park. Both of those deaths brought the issue of pedestrian fatalities back into the spotlight. The chairman of the City Council’s Transportation Committee, Jimmy Vacca, even said Cohen-Eckstein’s death prompted him to call an emergency traffic safety hearing.

Mayor-elect Bill De Blasio has touted the Vision Zero plan, a list of safety recommendations recommended by Transportation Alternatives and the Drum Major Institute, which aims to eliminate traffic injuries and deaths over the course of the next decade. Future Public Advocate Letitia James has also signaled that traffic safety is an issue she will fight for.

And on Wednesday night, Queens residents took to the streets with the message “Three Children Too Many,” citing the deaths of three young children that happened in just one Queens neighborhood, all run over by cars. The group called on the city to enact more traffic-calming measures citywide.

The Bloomberg administration has already taken steps to implement some of the measures outlined in the Vision Zero plan. The Department of Transportation has already established fourteen 20 mile-per-hour slow zones in residential areas, and is finalizing plans for 15 more. The city received its first speed cameras this fall, and several arterial streets have undergone the “road diet” plan, which calls for cutting down on multiple lanes, adding bike lanes and adding pedestrian plazas where appropriate.

The NYPD seems to be taking the problem of speeding seriously as well: In an anti-speeding initiative last month, officers issued 736 summonses to drivers in the span of just one weekend.

Paul Steely White, the executive director at Transportation Alternatives, acknowledged a “new sense of urgency” and expressed hope that propelled by that sense, further progress in safety measures can be expected.

“We’re in a new era,” White said. “The new public safety imperative is traffic safety.”

Follow Danielle Tcholakian on Twitter @danielleiat



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Federal mediator joins Met Opera labor talks as…

Unions representing the orchestra and chorus of the Met Opera agreed to have a federal mediator join labor talks on Thursday as a threatened lockout loomed.

Local

Winning $7 million New York lottery ticket sold…

The only $7 million winning New York Lottery ticket for Monday's Cash4Life drawing was sold at a Queens 7-Eleven, officials said on Tuesday.

Local

Brooklyn man charged in roommate's stabbing death

A Brooklyn man accused of violently stabbing his roommate to death on Monday is in police custody and faces murder charges.

International

Dinosaurs could have survived asteroid strike

It turns out there is a good and a bad time for the planet to be hit by a meteor, and dinosaurs were just unlucky.…

Movies

Review: 'Guardians of the Galaxy' is a refreshingly…

Marvel is sitting so high on a cash mountain that it's now thrown $170 million at the relatively obscure and very silly title "Guardians of the Galaxy."

Movies

Review: 'Get on Up' is a war between…

James Brown finally gets his own boring biopic with "Get on Up," but the Godfather of Soul puts up a good fight against the usual cliches.

Movies

Review: 'Child of God' finds director James Franco…

James Franco's 11th directed feature is a noble but sloppy adaptation of Cormac McCarthy's "Child of God," about a feral mountain man (Scott Haze).

Movies

Review: Alex Gibney's Fela Kuti doc 'Finding Fela'…

Prolific documentarian Alex Gibney takes on Afrobeat god Fela Kuti in "Finding Fela," but fails to capture his unique essence.

MLB

Yankees land Stephen Drew, Martin Prado at trade…

Yankees land Stephen Drew, Martin Prado at trade deadline

College

Playing the Field: Valentine's Day coupling edition

  It’s Valentine’s Day, a day created by Hallmark to make couples spend loads and loads of money on candy, flowers and gourmet dinners. Or…

MLB

Angelo Cataldi: Ryan Howard deserves better from Phillies

Just last week, Ryan Howard endured the embarrassment of a benching that was inevitable, and yet still shocking.

NFL

Larry Donnell has inside track in Giants tight…

Little-known Larry Donnell of Grambling State currently has the inside track, as the second-year player has received the bulk of the first-team reps.

Career

What do you wear to a career fair?…

Getting that gig starts with presenting the most polished and memorable version of yourself, so refer to our expert fashion advice.

Style

Editors pick: Margiela's finger armor ring

These cool rings from Maison Martin Margiela are designed to overlap over the finger, covering each joint like armor.

Style

Givenchy champions diversity

Riccardo Tisci's uses a variety of ethnically diverse ladies for his spring campaign including Erykah Badu.

Wellbeing

Don't settle for the hotel fitness center with…

Travelers who want to skip the hotel fitness center in favor of local gyms that may offer better equipment, classes and amenities can turn to…