Union Square Skateboarder Was Killed on Rejected Pedestrian Plaza Space
The crash that killed a skateboarder near Union Square yesterday occurred on a block that DOT intended to use as a part-time pedestrian plaza until the agency capitulated to neighborhood NIMBYs.
At around 11:15 a.m. Tuesday, the 24-year-old victim, whose name had not been released as of this morning, was run over by the driver of a delivery truck on Union Square West just south of E. 17th Street. Accounts vary, but according to NYPD the man was riding his skateboard when he “lost control” and fell underneath the passing truck.
Though there seem to be as many versions of the crash as there were witnesses, at 3:15 p.m. the Post reported that NYPD had declared the crash an “accident” and would not be filing charges against the driver.
As part of its 2010 plan to give room to pedestrians and cyclists around Union Square, DOT proposed that Union Square West between 17th and 16th Streets be designated as “flex space,” to be closed to motor vehicle traffic at certain times of day.
DOT did not announce the exact hours the space would be car-free before that facet of the plan was dropped in response to complaints from area residents. However, if the block was intended to be programmed as part-time plaza space, it seems likely that it would have been open to pedestrians and closed to motor vehicle traffic at lunchtime on a weekday.
Yesterday’s fatality occurred a short distance from where Roxana Sorina Buta was run over by a hit-and-run truck driver, at Broadway and 14th Street, in May.
This fatal crash occurred in the 13th Precinct. To voice your concerns about neighborhood traffic safety directly to Deputy Inspector David Ehrenberg, the commanding officer, go to the next precinct community council meeting. The 13th Precinct council meetings happen at 6:30 p.m. on the on the third Tuesday of the month at the precinct, 230 E. 21st Street. Call 212-477-7427 for information.
The City Council district where this crash occurred is represented by Rosie Mendez. To encourage Mendez to take action to improve street safety in her district and citywide, contact her at 212-677-1077, firstname.lastname@example.org or @RosieMendez.