DOT Proposes Crosswalk Fix Where Renee Thompson Was Killed

In September, 16-year-old Renee Thompson was walking to the subway after getting off work just after 10 p.m., when, crossing Third Avenue at 60th Street, she was hit and killed by a turning truck driver. Now DOT is proposing shorter crossing distances at the intersection, but  Community Board 8’s transportation committee wants the agency to go further and also look at the dangers pedestrians face just one block away, where drivers jostle along Second Avenue to get on to the Queensboro Bridge.

The plan adds curb extensions to two corners at 60th Street and Third Aveune. Image: DOT
The plan adds curb extensions to two corners at 60th Street and Third Aveune. Image: DOT

The plan [PDF], which adds painted curb extensions and flex-post bollards to the northwest and southwest corners, would shorten crossing distances on Third Avenue from 65 feet to 53 feet, and on 60th Street from 35 feet to 25 feet. It also adds a left-turn lane on Third Avenee and lengthens the existing left-turn lane from 60th Street to Third Avenue, which is heavily used by trucks heading north after exiting the bridge. Both streets are mapped as truck routes.

Sidewalks at the intersection are crowded, and narrowed by enclosed sidewalk cafes, tree pits, and subway entrances on all four corners.

There were 12 pedestrian injuries at the intersection from 2007 to 2011, according to DOT, and in addition to Thompson’s death last September, there was another fatality at the intersection in 2010: Thomas Richards, 67, of Queens Village was in the crosswalk when he was killed by a cab driver who witnesses say was speeding.

A resolution supporting the curb extension at Third Avenue [PDF] passed the committee unanimously last Thursday and now heads to the full board, which is scheduled to meet tonight at 6:30 p.m. at Hunter College.

The resolution also asks DOT to come back within six months with a pedestrian safety plan for the area around the Queensboro Bridge at Second Avenue, an issue CB 8 transportation committee co-chair A. Scott Falk said DOT staff was receptive to.

“We’re very glad that they’re making a proposal for 60th and Third,” Falk told Streetsblog. “It’s been one of my priorities for the board in 2014 to get real pedestrian improvements around the bridge.”

  • Reader

    “Thompson was walking west across Third Avenue on the north side of 60th Street shortly after 7:00 p.m., leaving her job at Dylan’s Candy Store, when a tractor-trailer driver turning right from westbound 60th onto Third struck her with the rear wheels of the truck.”

    If I’m viewing this proposal correctly, this design, while better for many people, might not have prevented Thompson’s death. A truck driver can still turn right onto Third Ave without having to slow down very much at all, possibly trapping pedestrians beneath his rear wheels. We need designs that force truck drivers to slow down almost to a crawl of 5 mph and look around before they start their turn. There needs to be a bulbout on the NE side of this intersection that obviously accommodates wide turning vehicles but slows them down to prevent this scenario from repeating itself.

  • Clarke

    Yes, those flexible plastic bollards are perfect for stopping a multi-ton truck!

  • Mark Walker

    If bollards are used at all, they should have car-stopping power. Drivers have airbags; pedestrians do not.

  • anon
    Don’t stand too close to them I guess.

  • Bolwerk

    Just considering that diagram, two through traffic lanes really seems like more than enough, even on avenues. With 25mph traffic, preferably.

    And you know what? It’s probably still nowhere near enough to achieve anything approaching zero traffic deaths.

  • A. Scott Falk

    CB8 passed the resolution at the full board by a vote of 40 yes, 0 no, 1 abstention. The initial changes should be implemented in the spring.

  • JoshNY

    It’s a start.

  • A. Scott Falk

    Yes, only a start.


Big Pedestrian Island Proposed in Bushwick Avenue Traffic Calming Plan

After receiving requests from the Graham Avenue Business Improvement District and the Ridgewood Bushwick Senior Citizens Council (yep, that one) for better sidewalks and safety improvements, DOT presented a plan [PDF] for Bushwick Avenue to Brooklyn Community Board 1’s transportation committee last week. The biggest change is proposed for the intersection with Seigel Street, where Bushwick […]