Cyclist Gary Zammett Sr. Killed in Howard Beach; Where Is Eric Ulrich?

A cyclist was killed by a motorist in Howard Beach this week, on a street where residents say drivers routinely ignore stop signs. The crash occurred in the City Council district represented by Eric Ulrich, who has not responded to inquiries concerning street safety in the district.

Locals say motorists routinely run stop signs on 84th Street in Howard Beach, where Gary Zammett Sr. was killed. No charges were filed. Photo: The Forum

Gary Zammett Sr. was out to buy cheesecake for his wife when he was hit by the unnamed driver of an SUV at 84th Street and 160th Avenue at around 6:40 p.m. Wednesday, according to reports in the Queens Chronicle and the Forum. A family member said he suffered extensive injuries to his face and limbs. Zammett, thought to be in his 50s or 60s, died at Jamaica Hospital about 90 minutes after the crash.

Reports don’t provide details of the crash itself, but locals say motorists regularly break the law on 84th Street. From the Chronicle:

Eighty-fourth Street is a major thoroughfare in the Rockwood Park section of Howard Beach. It is the only two-way route in that section of the neighborhood besides Cross Bay Boulevard and connects the community with Lindenwood on the other side of the Belt Parkway.

“That intersection was a ticking time bomb that exploded,” said a resident who lives a block away, who identified himself only as Gary. “We need more lights on 84th Street.”

The intersection has a four-way stop — as do most of the others along 84th Street — but Gary and other residents say drivers often run the signs. Jones said she and her family witnessed cars jumping the stop sign at the scene when they visited after the accident.

“We saw cars physically run straight through the stop sign,” she said.

Immediately after the incident, police officers pulled over drivers near the intersection who ran through stop signs or were not wearing their seatbelts.

The driver who killed Zammett was not charged.

Reports say Zammett’s family members and Community Board 10 want a stop light at 84th Street and 160th Avenue. Since motorists are ignoring existing stop signs, it seems consistent enforcement is also needed. The 106th Precinct, where the crash occurred, issued 1,036 citations for red-light running in 2012, and 746 tickets for disobeying street signs.

There were seven pedestrian and cyclist injuries, and one pedestrian fatality, along a nine-block stretch of 84th Street south of the Belt Parkway between 1995 and 2008, according to Transportation Alternatives’ CrashStat. No crashes were reported during that time frame at the intersection where Zammett was killed.

Zammett is one of at least three cyclists and pedestrians killed in Ulrich’s district this year, and at least the seventh fatality in the last 15 months. Ulrich is a vocal critic of automated enforcement, and has a history of ridiculing DOT traffic-calming efforts. He didn’t respond when in July we twice asked him what measures he has taken to improve traffic enforcement and traffic calming in his district.

We emailed Ulrich this morning to ask if he was aware of conditions on 84th Street, if he’s spoken with locals about their concerns, or if he has reached out to NYPD or DOT to improve safety there. We’ll let you know if we hear back.

To voice your concerns about neighborhood traffic safety to Deputy Inspector Thomas M. Pascale, the commanding officer of the 106th Precinct, go to the next precinct community council meeting. The 106th Precinct council meetings happen on the second Wednesday of the month at 8:00 p.m. at the precinct, 103-53 101st Street. Call 718-845-2228 for information.

  • Anonymous

    Where is Eric Ulrich? Eric Ulrich is busy polishing a tweet to the family of the cyclist who was killed, using the hashtag #getalife.

    (Reference:http://www.streetsblog.org/2011/06/06/worried-about-cars-killing-people-eric-ulrich-says-get-a-life/ )

  • cyclist

    There are bike lanes down there on 157th ave, and on the one way streets 91st and 92nd. 157 isn’t usually too bad since the rode is wide enough, but 91st and 92nd are narrow, it’s a tight fit for a bike lane, a car lane and two parking lanes, cars always speed down those streets in the bike lane and the parked cars often block some of the bike lane. Surprised there aren’t more accidents down there.

  • Anxiously Awaiting Bikeshare

    Traffic Circle. Traffic light just brings other problems.

  • Anonymous

    “Immediately after the incident, police officers pulled over drivers near
    the intersection who ran through stop signs or were not wearing their
    seatbelts.”

    Reactionary pandering at its finest

  • JK

    If Mr. Zammett’s family wants to keep this from happening to another family, they should advocate for changing the street with mini-traffic circles, raised crosswalks or another traffic calming solution. Traffic lights do not make low volume intersections safer, and there will never be enough cops or cameras to enforce laws at the thousands of intersections like this one. I hope Mr. Zammett’s family is able to win safer streets near their home.

  • Anonymous

    “The intersection has a four-way stop.”
    “…he suffered extensive injuries to his face and limbs.”
    “The driver who killed Zammett was not charged.”

    WTF?

    At a 4 way stop, you stop, then go. Even if there is a collision, how fast should a car be going 30 feet from a dead stop? Not fast enough to produce massively fatal injuries to face and limbs. SUVs have high fronts, so cyclists heads and shoulders slam into metal at the same time as the rest of their body. Lots of damage and bruises, but are there fatal injuries if the SUV had just started from a stop? Not likely.

    How stupid are the cops? Accidentally stupid or deliberately stupid?

    A fatal injury should not have happened in this crash if the driver had actually stopped at the stop sign. It should be obvious from the damage that the driver never stopped, and ran the stop sign.

    No Charges against the driver?

    Police Malfeasance. Charge the police and the driver.

  • Anonymous

    While it’s true there are more red lights than cops, drivers in NYC know that they can run stop signs (and red lights) with almost complete impunity.

    If the NYPD enforced these laws even a little more, it would have an effect on driver behavior.

  • Deliberately stupid.

  • Anonymous

    Deliberately lazy

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