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

A driver struck two pedestrians crossing Adam Clayton Powell at 145th Street last Sunday, killing one. Since 2006, 11 pedestrians have been killed in traffic crashes on Adam Clayton Powell. Image: ##,+ny+ny&hl=en&ll=40.821961,-73.938932&spn=0.008687,0.019033&sll=37.0625,-95.677068&sspn=37.188995,77.958984&t=h&hnear=Adam+Clayton+Powell+Jr+Blvd+%26+W+146th+St,+New+York&z=16&layer=c&cbll=40.821886,-73.938997&panoid=idNcKtzepdLkcw827cmINw&cbp=13,191.57,,0,18.77##Google Street View##

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.

Despite the terrible safety record of Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. Boulevard, City Council Member Inez Dickens has remained silent on a DOT proposal to improve conditions for pedestrians. Photo: ## Council##

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.

  • Eric McClure

    Sorry, too busy targeting cyclists who ride on sidewalks or without helmets to do anything that might actually save lives.  

  • Anonymous

    I support calming ACP Blvd and I even think that the latest DOT proposal is too timid.

    That said, based on your description of the crash, I wouldn’t blame it on ACP but on 145th St (of course, I’m just talking about roads here, as the driver is obviously to blame too). Even had the planned improvements to ACP been in place, the crash would probably have happened anyway. While a shorter crossing distance on ACP might have helped, I think the main problem in this case is reckless left-turning drivers on 145th St.

    I’m quite familiar with 145th St, frequently using it in all sorts of modes (walking, driving, riding a bicycle, and on the bus). There are two lanes of traffic in each direction, with no median. Typically, all lanes of traffic are blocked: the right-hand lanes by double-parked cars, and the left-hand lanes by cars trying to turn left. This creates pressure on left-turning drivers to turn as fast as possible, and some do try to beat the incoming traffic by turning left as soon as the light turns green. Under these conditions, the left-turning driver is paying more attention to incoming traffic than to pedestrians at the intersection, and is turning too fast to boot.

  • Bolwerk

    Why the balls should the city care what Dickens thinks one way or another?  Streets are rarely self-contained units that only affect a single Council district.  Ones like Adam Clayton Powell, Jr., Blvd. have wide ranging effects on traffic all over the place. 

    This is one of the many compelling reasons why “progressives” should be fighting for an end to NIMBY-empowering legislative districts.

  • Ian Turner

    Surprised to see that the NYPD charged the driver with something. Inflection point or outlier? Hard to say.

  • Jusgalbraith

    The person killed was a family member. It’s so sad to see that drivers aren’t paying attention to people crossing.

  • Cotb16

    Inez Dickens isn’t the only council member who represents the intersection of 145th and Powell Blvd. The west side of the intersection is represented by Robert Jackson, the man who said that it was ok to beat the fare at an unstaffed entrance. 

  • Tinarodr6

    The woman that was killed was my mother!!!

  • Somebody

    I’m surprised that they did not make all these safety improvements already. Speaking of such, I think that such “safety improvements” that they have already put in place, such as countdown signals, weren’t enough to prevent the loss of a loved one.


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After more than three years of delay and debate, safety improvements may finally be coming to one of Harlem’s deadliest avenues. Under a plan tentatively okayed by Manhattan Community Board 10’s transportation committee last night [PDF], Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. Boulevard will get wider medians, shorter crossing distances, and narrower traffic lanes in an attempt […]

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