Queens Civic Leader Killed Walking to Community Board Transpo Meeting

Queens community leader Patricia Dolan was killed last night as she walked to a transportation meeting at her community board. Photo: ##http://www.timesledger.com/stories/2011/46/patdolancrash_all_2011_11_16_q.html##Times-Ledger/Christina Santucci##

Queens community leader Pat Dolan was killed by the driver of a Nissan sedan as she crossed the street last night. Dolan served on Queens Community Board 8, and she was walking to a transportation meeting when she was struck.

According to the NYPD, Dolan was crossing Hillside Avenue southbound at 198th Street when she was struck by the driver, who was traveling east. The NYPD said that “there was no criminality” on the part of the driver, who remained at the scene, but the police could provide no information about whether Dolan was in a crosswalk or had the right of way, or whether the driver was speeding.

Dolan was president of the Queens Civic Congress, and in the wake of her death tributes have been pouring in from across the city. “Pat dedicated her life to Queens,” said Borough President Helen Marshall. Said Comptroller John Liu, “Her leadership and infectious spirit will be sorely missed, and I stand together with my fellow residents of Queens to mourn her untimely death.” Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer announced that he was dedicating his transportation conference this Friday in Dolan’s memory.

Dolan had made improving transportation access for car-free Queens residents part of her life’s work, reported the Queens Times-Ledger. As director of Queens Connection, she organized transportation for senior centers and advocated for better public transit across the borough. “Dolan did not drive and took public transportation to every one of the countless meetings she attended all around the borough,” the paper wrote.

“Pat’s tireless commitment to a safer, more livable community earned her the respect of all who knew her,” said Transportation Alternatives executive director Paul Steely White. “During her tenure as its leader, the Queens Civic Congress addressed community transportation concerns, like speeding, reckless driving and dangerous conditions for walkers. Her absence will be felt in the many lives she touched in her own community and beyond.”

If you would like to discuss the case and traffic safety in the neighborhood with local police, the next meeting of the 103rd Precinct is December 13 at 7:00 p.m. and the next meeting of the 107th Precinct is this Tuesday, November 22, at 8:00 p.m.

  • J

    How many prominent leaders have to die before we convince the NYPD, the DAs, and society to actually care about traffic justice?

  • Bolwerk

    Jimmy Vacca must have shot in his pants.

  • Eric McClure

    Tragic. Condolences to Pat’s family and friends.

  • Anonymous

    Wow, see Street view.  If the driver’s really not criminal, then the engineers and planners are.

  • random internet poster

    Without knowing *any* details about the circumstances leading to the collision, it’s highly unethical to write sentences like “the police could provide no information about whether Dolan was in a
    crosswalk or had the right of way, or whether the driver was speeding”.

    It is no wonder we have to contend with anti-transit columnists / NBBLs / etc. with the high standards that are set here.

  • Eric McClure

    @767934a648524da57388558217ad9c2d:disqus Seriously?

  • Anonymous

    @767934a648524da57388558217ad9c2d:disqus , yeah, really, what’s wrong with that objective statement of fact?  The mere fact that you’d be unlikely to find it in the News or Post?  

  • Anonymous

    @767934a648524da57388558217ad9c2d:disqus , yeah, really, what’s wrong with that objective statement of fact?  The mere fact that you’d be unlikely to find it in the News or Post?  

  • Eric McClure

    @ddartley:disqus , yes, Google Streetview paints a sad picture.  There’s a crosswalk one long block to the west, but to the east, the nearest is faintly marked three blocks away. Several wide lanes to cross without benefit of a traffic signal, stop sign, or even a marked crosswalk.

    Queens leaders should honor Pat’s memory by starting today to fix this street.

  • I used to pass over these types of posts on Streetsblog. Now, I read them. As a planner for a city DOT, these articles put a face to the numbers and drawings we look at every day.

  • Len Maniace, Jackson Heights

    It’s not unethical to include in a story that there was no info from police on circumstances that could have led to the incident. That’s what journalists are supposed to do, ask the question why. I hope it’s what I’ve done over my 33 years in the business.
    See statement below:
    Without knowing *any* details about the circumstances leading to the collision, it’s highly unethical to write sentences like “the police could provide no information about whether Dolan was in a crosswalk or had the right of way, or whether the driver was speeding”. 
    It is no wonder we have to contend with anti-transit columnists / NBBLs / etc. with the high standards that are set here.  

  • Anonymous

    @EricMcClure:disqus Thanks for posting the streetview.  What a disaster from a Complete Streets perspective.  Huge crossing distance, no crosswalks, no pedestrian refuge in the middle.  So dangerous.

  • @HamTech87:disqus Hmm, so a nice generously-proportioned protected bike lane would narrow that sucker down nicely….

  • random internet poster

    Yes, it’s just a hohum statement of fact; picked arbitrarily as part of the story. Please.

    How many times have Streetblog editors howled when the frame was something in the Post that says something “no information if the ipod-listening frequently-texting teen ran the red light on her bike before she was killed in an accident”. In fact, it inspired a hefty post rebutting that lede, basically boiling down to “we don’t know yet” [http://www.streetsblog.org/2011/06/09/what-we-dont-know-about-the-crash-that-killed-aileen-chen/]

    Show some class. A vast majority of people – drivers/bikers/walkers – are conscientious and would be absolutely heartbroken to be involved in a collision in which they hurt someone. It’s as much disservice to them to openly wonder if the driver who struck and killed Pat Dolan was speeding, failed to yield, or drunk as it was to Aileen Chen when the Post insinuated she “was wearing headphones, had no helmet and was peddling against the light”.

    Without principle, there’s no room for moral outrage. Personally I expect Streetsblog to be of higher quality than the NYPost, but perhaps that’s an expectation I shouldn’t have.

  • dporpentine

    Wow, @767934a648524da57388558217ad9c2d:disqus, reading’s not your thing, huh?

    Let’s go through this slowly. The difference between these two instances is that, according that Post article, the cops *did* give information about the crash and *all* of it went against Chen. This means (if you accept that the police told the Post reporter that) that it’s not an insinuation, it’s straight reporting.

    I was not a fan of that Streetsblog story you linked to, but it’s reasonable to point out that the information that was coming out in that case was ridiculously one-sided. It also seems worth pointing out that the police are saying absolutely nothing here.

    And I know this might be hard to believe, but all of the things this report lists cut both ways: “*whether* Dolan was in a crosswalk” (she might not have been) “or had the right of way” (she might not have), or “whether the driver was speeding” (the person might have been going the legal limit)–all those questions are raised.

    Anyway, the real thing to say about this is that it’s tragedy. Full stop.

  • vnm

    Random internet poster, you are correct, not a lot if known about this incident at this time. This article was simply pointing out what isn’t known. Those facts would be relevant in determining whether negligence may have played a part, so I think it is worthwhile to point out that a determination on criminality is made possibly in absence of these facts. Of course, in the NYPD’s defense, it is entirely possible that they do have those facts but simply chose not to share them.

    The Queens Civic Congress has been a staunch opponent of congestion pricing and bridge tolls, which would have done a great deal toward reducing traffic, not just in Manhattan, but throughout the entire region. Perhaps this tragedy can encourage the group to find common ground with those of us who are working to reduce car dependence throughout the region.

  • Len Maniace

    By raising those issues, Streetsblog sought to look at whether the motorist AND pedestrian were complying with the law. It is not blaming the driver to question if the deceased was in the crosswalk, or had the right of way, or whether or not the driver was speeding. 
    The answer to those questions could be yes or no.
    If Streetsblog wanted to be unfair, it didn’t have to include the police statement about “no criminality” by the driver.
    Anyway, I’m sure Streetsblog writers want to avoid all “hohum” elements in their stories.

  • The Truth

    @767934a648524da57388558217ad9c2d:disqus I think the text was a clear and fair exposition that yet again the NYPD had made a definitive statement to dismiss any responsibility for a driver who caused the death of somebody, but could not, or would not, provide any details that actually supported their determination.

    This is in no way an attack on the particular driver.  But the question of why the NYPD does not ever seem to find any drivers responsible for their actions when they cause death needs to be asked every time there is another case that they don’t answer with the appropriate facts.

  • Andrew

    @40daebbed12b53745f7f9f21456e6154:disqus It’s apparent that the NYPD views dead pedestrians as an inevitable consequence of driving, much as wet pedestrians are an inevitable consequence of rain.

    It’s also apparent, from the general lack of enforcement, that the NYPD views traffic laws as optional.  So why should it make a difference if the driver ran a red light or was speeding or was violating any number of other traffic laws?

    So there’s no news here.  Somebody was driving a car (perhaps in compliance with the law, perhaps not – it doesn’t matter), and a pedestrian was killed.  Also, it was raining tonight and I got wet.  No criminality in either case.

    Furthermore, since members of the NYPD drive at a highly disproportional rate, if they are involved in a car-ped crash, they are far more likely to be in the car than outside it.  So why would they actually take the time and effort to investigate?

  • The street design is definitely at fault here, no matter what were the actions of Ms. Dolan or the driver. 


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