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After Traffic Claims Another Life on ACP Blvd, Will CB 10 Take Action?

3:13 PM EDT on May 31, 2012

A motorist struck two women crossing Adam Clayton Powell Boulevard in Harlem last Sunday evening, according to the NYPD. One, 35 years old, died from her injuries at Lincoln Hospital. Police did not release the names of the victims.

Adam Clayton Powell is one of the most dangerous streets in Manhattan. The victim of Sunday's crash was the 11th pedestrian killed in traffic since 2006. Recently, DOT showed the Community Board 10 transportation committee a proposal to expand medians on the street, which could prevent deadly crashes in the future. After a positive initial reception from the committee, however, it remains unclear whether the board will grant its support.

On Sunday, the two women were crossing the 100-foot wide avenue at 4:45 p.m., walking east along 145th Street. They were in the crosswalk, walking with the signal, according to NYPD. A motorist driving west on 145th turned left onto Adam Clayton Powell, where he struck the victims.

The driver was issued two summonses, for failure to exercise due care and for failure to yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk.

In response to the high fatality rates and rampant speeding on Adam Clayton Powell, DOT has proposed widening the medians and narrowing lanes to calm traffic, a concept which Manhattan Community Board 10's transportation committee expressed support for at a public meeting earlier this month. The expanded medians would help protect pedestrians crossing the street and compel motorists to take turns more carefully.

The proposal was applauded by neighborhood organizations, including the Harlem Children's Zone and the Abyssinian Development Corporation. William Hamer, director of senior services with the Abyssinian Development Corporation, told the committee, "Our seniors were highly concerned about the issues on Adam Clayton Powell Boulevard."

While committee members voiced tentative support for the proposal, they did not draft an official resolution at the time. The community board has since sent a letter to DOT saying the board wants to see something done to improve safety but urging more public discussion and ultimately revisions to the plan, according to a CB 10 official.

A 2009 proposal to calm traffic on Adam Clayton Powell by adding a buffered bike lane fizzled out after the transportation committee voted in favor but the full board declined to approve it.

Council Member Inez Dickens, who represents the overwhelmingly car-free district, has been silent on the issue. Dickens' office has not returned Streetsblog's request for comment on the fatal crash and the city's proposal to improve safety on Adam Clayton Powell.

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