Jerrison Garcia, 25, Third Cyclist Killed Near Park Ave. Viaduct in Two Years

Cyclists on Park Avenue are sandwiched between the viaduct and parked cars while contending with moving vehicles and intersections with limited visibility. Image: Google Maps
Cyclists on Park Avenue are sandwiched between the viaduct and parked cars while contending with moving vehicles and intersections with limited visibility. Image: Google Maps

Update: Cab driver Nojeem Odunfa of the Bronx was charged with aggravated unlicensed operation, careless driving, and a right of way violation, according to NYPD. Odunfa was not immediately charged for killing Jerrison Garcia, and, if past patterns hold, he won’t be. Aggravated unlicensed operation carries nominal penalties and tends to be the default charge against sober unlicensed drivers who kill cyclists and pedestrians in NYC.

For the third time in two years, a driver has killed a cyclist at the same Park Avenue intersection, under the Metro-North viaduct in East Harlem. In addition to recent fatalities, data show that Park Avenue along the viaduct is a hotspot for cyclist injuries.

At around 5:15 this morning, a livery cab driver traveling southbound on Park turned left into Jerrison Garcia, who was also southbound, at E. 108th Street, according to DNAinfo.

Blood stains at the intersection marked the roughly 80 feet that police said Garcia was dragged until the livery cab came to a rest on 108th Street.

Garcia, 25, was pronounced dead at Mount Sinai Hospital. The 65-year-old driver, who reportedly works for Glory Car and Limo Service, was taken into police custody. NYPD told Gothamist “it was more than likely he would be charged with driving with a suspended license.”

Park Avenue is divided by the viaduct from E. 102nd Street northward. There is parking on northbound and southbound Park Avenue along this stretch, but there is no designated lane for cyclists, who must share one narrow through-lane with moving vehicles while negotiating intersections with limited visibility.

Motorists killed cyclists Marvin Ramirez and Shaquille Cochrane at Park and E. 108th in June 2013 and July 2012, respectively. Ramirez was biking east on E. 108th when he was struck by a northbound driver, reports said. NYPD told Streetsblog the driver who killed Cochrane was southbound on Park, and that Cochrane was headed west, against traffic, on E. 108th when he was struck. NYPD preemptively blamed the deceased cyclist for each crash.

Crash data posted by Ben Wellington on I Quant NY this morning indicates there were six additional crashes resulting in cyclist injuries on Park Avenue between E. 106th and E. 110th Streets from April to September 2013. “Obviously no single accident is predictable at any given time,” wrote Wellington, “but if we want to get serious about Vision Zero, let’s make patterns like these repeat less often.”

There were 38 pedestrian injuries on Park Avenue from E. 96th Street to E. 111th Street, 15 cyclist injuries, and 208 injuries to motor vehicle occupants from 2007 to 2011, according to DOT. A DOT project introduced earlier this year will improve pedestrian safety with new concrete and signal alterations, but no bike infrastructure was included. Streetsblog has asked DOT if bike infrastructure improvements are planned for Park Avenue along the viaduct.

  • Danny G

    Would it be crazy to put a four foot wide fake sidewalk along the viaduct and switch the parking over to the left side of the roadway?

    Drivers can use the fake sidewalk to load/unload/get in/out of the car. Switching the parking to the left side will allow you to have a 12 foot pedestrian bulbout (4′ of fake sidewalk, 8′ of parking) where the archways / crosswalks are located. And for visibility’s sake, don’t allow parking right up to the crosswalk.

  • StepUpAndSaySomething

    The cab company should be sued for letting him use the car.

  • Matthias

    That’s a really good idea that should be strongly considered. The travel lane should be quite narrow to limit speed. No one should be going more than 15mph along the viaduct.

  • Alicia

    “Mount Sanai Hospital”?

  • Max Power

    Seems like a good place for some guerilla sharrows at the center of that lane

  • AnoNYC

    We could use large overhead mirrors at every intersection too.

  • AnoNYC

    Speed humps along the entire length.

  • Joe R.

    Or just close off all the non-major cross streets to through vehicular traffic (keep them open only for bicycles and pedestrians).

  • Haitch

    It’s very dangerous on that stretch of Park.
    DOT, please act now to help us with this part of Park!

  • photothatdodo

    The driver dragged the cyclist for 80 feet. You don’t do that and not notice. The driver should be charged with manslaughter (at least). Why is it that you can kill someone with a car in America, maybe out of carelessness, maybe out of anger, and it’s not a crime? When you kill someone in any other way, it’s a crime. It’s so frustrating.

  • Andrew

    How would that help cyclists and pedestrians get across Park? If anything, I expect that north-south drivers would be less likely to look out for cross traffic if none of it is motorized.

  • Joe R.

    I thought the problem is that traffic on Park can’t see cross traffic due to the viaduct. If you get rid of motorized cross traffic, you still can’t see the cross traffic on Park, but at least it can’t kill you.

    It’s plain dumb having intersections with literally no lines of sight. How exactly can any user safely negotiate such intersections, short of putting in extreme measures like RR style crossing gates to physically block traffic which has the red light? If the lines of sight can’t be fixed, which they obviously can’t here, then you need to get rid of the intersections, at least for motor traffic. Pedestrians and cyclists on the cross streets could still safely cross Park owing to their superior visibility. If need be, a buffer zone next to the viaduct could help in that regard.

    As a bonus, when you block off cross streets to motor traffic you make driving less convenient. If you do that citiwide (make driving more circuitous than walking or cycling) you’ll decrease traffic levels to the point that crossing streets will be far less hazardous.

  • Andrew

    It can’t kill you (or is highly unlikely to kill you) if you’re going north-south and you’re worried about east-west conflicts. But it most certainly can kill you if you’re going east-west and you’re worried about north-south conflicts – and without motorized east-west conflicts to worry about, north-south motorists will, if anything, drive faster and less cautiously under your proposal.

    The one advantage of your proposal is that it would eliminate (motorized) turning movements. But turns can be banned without banning the traffic entirely.

  • Lee

    I was witnessed the entire accident my boyfriend jumped out of our car to assist. what a horrific way to die.. I will be praying for the family and also visit accident site to be with family and friends.

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