Following the preventable death of Jean Chambers, the Upper West Side gathered to call for a stronger traffic-calming measures, with stricter police enforcements of the speed limit and cellphone and texting laws.
Jean was crossing the street on West End Avenue and 95th Street on her way to the gym on July 10 when she was struck by an SUV turning the corner. Her death was the fourth pedestrian fatality in the neighborhood this year.
After a series of traffic-related deaths, Mayor Bill de Blasio released a plan this year to reduce the number to zero by 2024, an approach known as Vision Zero. According to city data, traffic-related fatalities have fallen over the years — 701 in 1990, 381 in 2000 and 249 in 2011. But the numbers remain striking: On average, a New Yorker is seriously injured or killed every two hours in a traffic accident. Approximately 4,000 New Yorkers are seriously injured and more than 250 are killed each year.
From 2010 through 2012, 420 pedestrians had been killed in traffic on city streets, according to the Tri-State Transportation Campaign study.
Some of the mayor’s proposals include reducing the citywide speed limit to 25 miles per hour from 30, which has been approved by the state, and expanding the installation of red-light and speed-tracking cameras that issue tickets.
A spokesman for the Department of Transportation, Scott Gastel, would not offer details about traffic safety initiatives and related studies in the neighborhood, but he said in an email: “Safety is our foremost priority,” and along with measures like the turn restriction, the department “will also look into other possibilities in consultation with the community and local stakeholders.”
Councilwoman Helen Rosenthal said she would like to see the left-turn restriction become an all-day ban. Right now it is only banned from 7am-9am. She would also like to see a speed bump on 95th Street between Riverside Drive and West End Avenue, and stronger state laws so that drivers can no longer be excused for an accident. Ms. Rosenthal sponsored a bill known as Cooper’s Law, which the Council recently passed, that allows the city to suspend and revoke the license of a taxi or livery driver who kills or injures a pedestrian who had the right of way.
If you or a loved one has been seriously injured in a pedestrian-related accident, contact us today for a free consultation.