DOT to install traffic light at deadly Bath Beach corner

June 7, 2019 Paula Katinas
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The Department of Transportation is making plans to install a traffic light at a dangerous Bath Beach intersection where a three-year-old boy was struck and killed by a delivery van last month, Assemblymember William Colton announced.

DOT officials contacted Colton by letter on June 6 and informed him that the agency had completed a study and approved a traffic light for the corner of Benson Avenue and Bay 25th Street.

The traffic device will be installed later this year, according to Colton, a Democrat whose district includes Gravesend and parts of Bath Beach and Bensonhurst.

The city’s action comes a month after a death that shook the entire neighborhood.

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Emur Shavkator was struck and killed on May 3 by a van whose driver was on his way to making candy deliveries to 86th Street stores. The driver was traveling up Bay 25th Street and was making a right turn onto Benson Avenue when he hit the child, police said. Emur was riding a child’s scooter when he was struck by the van, police said. He was rushed to Coney Island Hospital, where he died.

The driver, a 61-year-old man from Bensonhurst, was charged with failure to yield to a pedestrian and failure to exercise due care, police said.

Emur’s death led to calls by elected officials and street safety advocates for DOT to install a traffic light.

A few days after the fatal crash, lawmakers joined members of Families for Safe Streets, a group founded by parents whose children were killed by drivers, for a candlelight vigil at the intersection.

Colton said that while he was pleased to hear from DOT that a traffic light is coming, he is still frustrated by what he termed a slow response of the agency. His office has been requesting a light at that corner since 2013, he said.

“What really bothers me here is that a three year-old child had to pay with his life in order for the New York City Department of Transportation to take a quick action and approve a traffic light at that intersection,” he said in a statement.

Still, Colton said he is relieved to finally see action. “I am happy that a traffic light will be installed which will hopefully avoid any more innocent lives taken at that extremely dangerous intersection,” he said.

Councilmember Mark Treyger, a Democrat who represents Coney Island, Gravesend and parts of Bensonhurst, said more needs to be done.

“This traffic light is a step towards increasing awareness of pedestrians and cyclists at this intersection, but I’m calling for more traffic calming measures — daylighting and speed cameras — for this intersection and other problematic streets in my district. The Department of Transportation needs to take a proactive and holistic, not reactive, approach to street design that protects and increases the safety of our motorists, cyclists and pedestrians,” he told the Home Reporter in an email.

The traffic light on the corner of Benson Avenue and Bay 25th Street will have a legacy, according to Democratic Councilmember Justin Brannan.

“This is a red light that the neighborhood has been requesting for years. It will now serve as a reminder that three-year-old Emur tragically and needlessly lost his life at this intersection. My hope is that we will learn from this tragedy so it never happens again,” said Brannan, whose district includes Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights and parts of Bensonhurst, Bath Beach and Gravesend.DOT officials did not return messages from the Home Reporter. But in the immediate aftermath of the boy’s death, a spokesperson said the agency planned to take a look into potential safety enhancements for the intersection.

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