Greenpoint Hit-and-Run Victim Dies. McGuinness Blvd Must Be Tamed.

Newel_Mc_Guinness.pngCalyer Street and McGuinness Boulevard, where a driver killed Neil Chamberlain and fled the scene. Image: Google Maps.

Gothamist reports that Neil Chamberlain, a 28-year-old Williamsburg resident, was taken off life support today after a driver struck him and fled the scene in Greenpoint early Sunday morning.

The still-unidentified driver was traveling east on Calyer Street and struck Chamberlain as he was walking between McGuinness Boulevard and Newel Street. Detectives are currently looking for video that may have recorded the fatal collision, said the NYPD. 

Local activists say that the McGuinness corridor is one of the most dangerous in Brooklyn. "We’ve been close to begging people to do some sort of traffic calming," said Ryan Kuonen, an organizer with Neighbors Allied for Good Growth, a North Brooklyn community organization. "It’s a racetrack." 

At the most dangerous intersection along McGuinness, where it intersects with Nassau Avenue, there were 34 crashes and two fatalities between 1995 and 2005, according to CrashStat. The violence has not abated since. Last December, a truck driver killed 33-year-old Solange Raulston at that intersection. The area’s growing population means more and more pedestrians and cyclists are being exposed to dangerous conditions along the corridor. 

The federal stimulus-funded reconstruction of Nassau offers a golden opportunity to make the area safer, said Kuonen. Since the city will be ripping up the street anyway, adding traffic calming measures — especially necessary at the intersection with McGuinness — would be easy and cheap. Following Raulston’s death, NAG and Transportation Alternatives jointly called for safety improvements at Nassau and McGuinness. 

A low-cost fix to traffic signal timing could improve safety along the rest of McGuinness. "The lights are timed for speed," Kuonen said, not safety. She also called for some basic speeding enforcement. "The 94th precinct doesn’t really police that stretch," she said. "If people were being pulled over for speeding, it would stop." 

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