The transportation committee of Manhattan Community Board 2 is looking for input on how to improve safety at Sixth Avenue and Houston Street, the intersection where Jessica Dworkin was killed by a truck driver two weeks ago.
“Everything’s open,” says committee chair Shirley Secunda, “from street geometry to police enforcement and investigation to current regulations as well as need for new regulations.”
Dworkin was riding a foot-propelled scooter west on Houston Street around 9 a.m. on August 27 when she was caught by the rear wheels of a flatbed semi as the driver turned right from Houston onto Sixth. The trucker was cited for careless driving.
“There has been a tremendous outpouring of grief from the community, in no small part because we have all had our own near-misses at that crossing,” says Ian Dutton, a former CB 2 member who was a neighbor of Dworkin’s. “I have adult, fully-abled friends who refuse to cross on that specific crosswalk because of aggressive, speeding drivers.”
Dworkin was the second person to die at Sixth and Houston in recent memory. Five years ago this month, 28-year-old Hope Miller was killed by a truck driver as she crossed Houston on her way to an acting class.
The committee may also address bridge tolls and truck size regulations, Secunda said. Since he was traveling east to west, there is speculation that the driver may have cut through the city to avoid the westbound toll on the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge. The truck that killed Dworkin appeared to exceed 55 feet, the maximum length allowed on surface streets without a permit, and the cab was missing required front-mounted crossover mirrors.
Committee recommendations would be presented as resolutions to the full board, and if approved would be directed to city agencies and electeds.
“I’m also going to ask that the board take a firm stand on the NYPD policy of immediately declaring ‘no criminality’ when the details are far from clear,” says Dutton, “that the board fully endorse the package of bills including the Crash Investigation Reform Act, and ask Chris Quinn’s rep why the speaker has yet to voice her opinion.”
Tonight’s meeting will be held at the Church of Our Lady of Pompei, 25 Carmine St., Father Demo Hall, at 6:30 p.m. The public is invited to attend and participate.