Pedestrian killed crossing Fourth Avenue

April 30, 2013 Helen Klein
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There’s been a deadly pedestrian accident on Fourth Avenue again, this time at 82nd Street, but according to cops, speed does not appear to have been a factor in the collision.

Police say that a white Cadillac Escalade SUV, going westbound on 82nd Street, made a right turn onto Fourth Avenue about 10:30 a.m. on Tuesday, April 30. The pedestrian – a woman about 70 years of age – was crossing the intersection from east to west when she was struck. She was taken to Lutheran Medical Center where she later died.

The vehicle stopped in the crosswalk and no skid marks were observed, according to one witness, who said there was blood on the ground. “The pedestrian went up in the air and came back down,” another eyewitness recalled.

There have been two other serious pedestrian-involved accidents on Fourth Avenue in Bay Ridge since the beginning of the year. On April 1, a woman was struck and killed at 86th and Fourth; in that incident, as well, cops said that speeding was not a contributing factor.

In addition, on February 16, Xaverian High School student Matthew Garry was struck by a car at Fourth and 78th

The sense of frustration among residents – who have been pushing for speed cameras and greater enforcement along the strip – is palpable, particularly as speed cameras reached a roadblock in the state Senate, which did not include them in its budget bill, effectively eliminating them from consideration as of now despite the support of cops and safety advocates.

Maureen Landers, who was struck by a car while crossing Fourth Avenue at 78th Street in April, 2009, and who subsequently helped to found BRAKES (Bay Ridge Advocates for Keeping Everyone Safe), told this paper, “We have been asking since 2009 for someone to do something. I feel like I want to pick my family up and move. It’s not safe for my children to cross the street. They have to start taking this seriously.”

Told that the cops had said that speed did not appear to be a factor in this latest accident, Landers replied, “That’s what they say every time. If the woman was in the crosswalk with the light, how is speed not a problem?

“Cars speed up to make the light,” she went on, adding, “He’ll go home to his family while her family will bury her. They just washed the blood off the street. Another life went down the drain and people will continue to drive the way they do through the neighborhood.”

Liz Lauricella, who lives near the intersection, agreed. “I’m really shaken,” she said. “I’ve lived in this neighborhood for 13 years. Since I’ve been raising kids I’ve become more aware. It’s very dangerous to cross that intersection. Cars speed up to make the green light and turn before they see if there’s a pedestrian. It’s really terrifying.

“I really would like drivers to be safe and be respectful of pedestrians,” Lauricella added. “We all live here.”

There has been an effort to re-engineer the thoroughfare, with the DOT recommending earlier this year, among other measures, that Fourth Avenue between Ovington Avenue and 84th Street be reduced to a single lane of moving traffic in each direction as a traffic-calming measure. That plan has not yet been formally proposed, so no action has yet been taken on it.

–Additional reporting contributed by Anna Spivak


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