Two Pedestrians Killed in 24 Hours, Including Seventh MTA Victim of 2014

MTA bus drivers have killed two pedestrians since 2013 while making turns at the intersection of Myrtle Avenue, Wyckoff Avenue, and Palmetto Street, but bus route modifications were not included in a DOT safety proposal. Image: DOT
MTA bus drivers have killed two pedestrians since 2013 while making turns at the intersection of Myrtle Avenue, Wyckoff Avenue, and Palmetto Street, but bus route modifications were not included in a DOT safety proposal. Image: DOT

Update: The victim in the MTA crash was identified as Edgar Torres. WNYC reports that, according to a witness, Torres was in a crosswalk and crossing with the signal when he was hit.

Drivers have killed two New York City pedestrians since Wednesday. One of the victims was the fourth pedestrian to be fatally struck by an MTA bus driver in the last two months, and the crash occurred at the same intersection on the Brooklyn-Queens border where a city bus driver killed pedestrian Ella Bandes in 2013.

At around 5:10 a.m. today, a man believed to be in his 40s was crossing Palmetto Street when he was struck by the rear wheel of a Q58 as the bus driver turned right onto Palmetto from Wyckoff Avenue, according to NYPD and published reports. An NYPD spokesperson said the victim was pronounced dead on arrival at Wyckoff Heights Medical Center. As of this afternoon his identity was being withheld pending family notification.

On January 31, 2013, a B52 driver making a right turn from Myrtle Avenue onto Palmetto Street struck and killed 23-year-old Ella Bandes. Last April DOT announced plans to improve visibility and shorten crossing distances at the perilous six-legged intersection where Wyckoff, Myrtle, and Palmetto meet. Rush hour turn bans, for two hours a day, were included in the revamp, but MTA bus routes were not affected. Bandes’s mother Judy Kottick noted that the turn restrictions would not have prevented the crash that killed her daughter.

Anonymous police sources told the Daily News that the victim in today’s crash “appeared to be walking in the street, outside the crosswalk” at the time of the collision. The NYPD spokesperson we talked with had no such details, and said it was unclear who had the right of way. Police are still investigating the crash, the spokesperson said. The Post reported that “no criminality is suspected.”

MTA bus drivers have killed at least six pedestrians and one cyclist this year, according to crash data compiled by Streetsblog, with four fatal crashes since the beginning of September. Caroline Samponaro, deputy director of Transportation Alternatives, released a statement earlier today:

Six pedestrians, one bicyclist and one motorcyclist have been hit and killed by MTA bus drivers so far in 2014. Of the six pedestrians killed, five were hit by a turning bus while trying to cross the street. In 2013, eight pedestrians were struck and killed by MTA buses.

As we await the results of the NYPD’s investigation of this failure-to-yield collision, we call on MTA bus operators and management to immediately become full partners in Mayor de Blasio’s Vision Zero objective of ending traffic fatalities and serious injuries. Further, we call on the mayor and DOT Commissioner Trottenberg to expedite the promised rebuilding of dangerous intersections, particularly along arterial streets where most pedestrian fatalities and injuries occur. New York City will not achieve Vision Zero without street redesigns that target the most hazardous locations.

The MTA rebuffed calls to participate directly in Mayor de Blasio’s Vision Zero initiative in March, saying its existing bus driver training program was adequate.

At approximately 12:19 p.m. Wednesday, the driver of a cement truck hit a 60-year-old man on Northern Boulevard at 34th Street in Astoria. Police said the victim was crossing Northern north to south when he was struck by the westbound truck driver. The victim was declared dead on at Mount Sinai Queens Hospital. His identity had not been released as of this afternoon.

NYPD had no information on who had the right of way, and said the investigation is ongoing.

This morning’s crash occurred in the 104th Precinct, in the City Council district represented by Antonio Reynoso. The Wednesday crash occurred in the 114th Precinct and in Jimmy Van Bramer’s council district.

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