Fatality At "Death Trap" Intersection Sparks Call For Safety Improvements

Transportation Alternatives Joins With State Senator Squadron And Council Member Chin To Ask DOT To Fix Delancey And Essex

May 17, 2011
Michael Murphy 646-873-6008

After yet another pedestrian fatality last week near the intersection of Delancey and Essex Streets, Transportation Alternatives joined with Senator Daniel Squadron and Council Member Margaret Chin today to call for safety improvements at the dangerous intersection. Paul Steely White, Executive Director of Transportation Alternatives, highlighted the urgent need for action:

"This intersection is a death trap for pedestrians. There were 119 motor vehicle crashes with pedestrians and cyclists there between 1998 and 2008 alone. Delancey and Essex is one of the most dangerous intersections on the East Side and it's high time we put pedestrians first and deploy life-saving street improvements."

The crash occurred at 3pm on Tuesday, May 10th. A 51-year-old woman walking east was hit by a private garbage truck. She was caught under the rear wheels and later succumbed to her injuries.

"This horrible accident underscores what we already know: we need additional pedestrian safety measures and we need them now," said Senator Squadron. "Even with welcome improvements put in place by the Department of Transportation, Essex andDelancey continues to be one of the most dangerous intersections in the city. I will continue to work with DOT, Transportation Alternatives and my colleagues in government to focus on our most dangerous intersections and ensure all of our streets are safer for all types of users."

"The fatal accident last week once again proves that the current traffic pattern at Delancey and Essex is unacceptable," added Council Member Chin. "This crossing is the most dangerous on the Lower East Side. This neighborhood is home to many senior centers, schools, and has experienced increased foot traffic in recent years. It is imperative that our street crossings and traffic patterns meet the needs of this diverse community. New York is a walking city and pedestrians must be our first priority. I am committed to working with the DOT and Transportation Alternatives in alleviating this problem area."

The Department of Transportation has fixed similar intersections by giving pedestrians more time to cross and by making traffic more orderly. Curb extensions, pedestrian refuge islands and extended, dedicated pedestrian walk times are among the traffic calming measures used to improve pedestrian safety and could save lives at this intersection.

The need for safety improvements at this intersection has been long known by local residents. Two years ago, T.A. convened the East Side Streets Coalition, group of over 30 organizations, to identify unsafe conditions in the area.

"Delancey and Essex is one of the most dangerous intersections in the Lower East Side," said Kurt Cavanaugh, of the East Side Streets Coalition and the East Village Community Coalition. "This intersection should be redesigned to prevent this type of accident."

Transportation Alternatives also highlighted the problem with Delancey and Essex in its East Side Action Plan, released earlier this year. Over 600 people contributed to the recommendations for crash reduction in the Action Plan by attending workshops or taking a survey.

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