Another Pedestrian Killed on Nightmarish Bronx Broadway Stretch

In 2014 drivers injured more than one pedestrian a week, on average, on the 15-block segment of Broadway where Daniel Cabrera was killed. Image: Google Maps
In 2014 drivers injured more than one pedestrian a week, on average, on the 15-block segment of Broadway where Daniel Cabrera was killed. Image: Google Maps

A hit-and-run driver killed a pedestrian last night on a stretch of Broadway in the Bronx with a history of fatalities, and where motorists injured one person walking per week last year.

Daniel Cabrera was attempting to cross Broadway at W. 225th Street in Marble Hill at around 7 p.m. yesterday when he was struck by the driver of a Dodge Magnum station wagon, according to the Daily News. The driver did not stop. Cabrera, 38, died at New York Presbyterian Hospital.

Reaction to Cabrera’s death has largely focused on the fact that the driver left the scene. “When a driver flees the scene of an accident without reporting the incident or aiding the individual they’ve hit, they not only breaking the law but disregarding the well-being of others and their moral responsibility to aid them,” said a statement from local Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez. “In our city we cannot tolerate these callous actions.”

Hit-and-run collisions are an epidemic in New York City — thanks in part to Albany’s failure to make penalties more severe — but street conditions where this crash occurred should not be ignored as a contributing factor.

Cabrera was hit just north of the Manhattan Bridge, on a stretch of Broadway both teeming with people and overrun by speeding traffic. Stores and restaurants line Broadway from W. 225th to W. 240th Street, which borders Van Cortlandt Park. It’s dark and loud due to the elevated 1 train. Crossings are long, and drivers speed with impunity. The 50th Precinct issued just 450 speeding tickets in 2014, according to NYPD data.

CBS 2 reported that Cabrera worked at Columbia University and was headed to the Metro-North station on W. 225th Street when he was hit.

With train tracks above, the area where the collision occurred is known for having a lot of traffic and being dangerous for pedestrians.

“That’s why I always cross on that side,” one man said. “I can’t cross on this side. I be too scared.”

Reports say the driver who killed Cabrera was traveling south on Broadway, toward Manhattan. (Though Marble Hill is considered part of Manhattan politically, it is on the north side of the Harlem River.) In addition to the nearby Metro-North stop, there is a 1 train station and a heavily-used bus stop for the Manhattan-bound Bx7 and Bx20 buses at Broadway and W. 225th, steps from where Cabrera was struck.

Motorists injured 58 pedestrians on Broadway between W. 225th and W. 240th in 2014, according to DOT. Data mapped on Transportation Alternatives’ CrashStat show that drivers killed eight pedestrians and injured dozens more on this segment of Broadway between 1995 and 2009.

Hazards for Broadway pedestrians aren’t limited to the Bronx. The Tri-State Transportation Campaign consistently ranks Broadway among the city’s most dangerous streets in terms of total pedestrian fatalities. DOT designated Broadway an Arterial Slow Zone in Manhattan north of 59th Street in 2014, and named it a “priority corridor” in the Manhattan pedestrian safety action plan (though Broadway was not singled out for improvements in the DOT’s Bronx pedestrian safety report). To be a safer street, Broadway will need physical infrastructure upgrades, like shorter crossings and protected bike lanes, on both sides of the Harlem River.

  • Brandon

    Despite being on the mainland, Marble Hill is part of Manhattan, not the Bronx.

  • Brandon

    …and now I see the article mentions that so I’ll slink away to work on my reading comprehension.

  • Brad Aaron

    I’m aware, thanks.

    See: “(Though Marble Hill is considered part of Manhattan politically, it is on the north side of the Harlem River.)”

    But let’s not let a horrific killing get in the way of reflexive nitpicking.

  • HamTech87

    Don’t sweat it. Happens all the time, and Streetsblog is lucky to have all sorts of editors. 🙂

  • Jonathan R

    Though a large chain department store opened up along with several other ancillary national-profile retail businesses on 225th Street east of Broadway, there have been no improvements to make it easier to cross Broadway at 225th Street. There are plenty of people struggling across the busy two-lane arterial with multiple shopping bags.

    Also, Brad, the bridge there is called the Broadway Bridge, not the Manhattan Bridge.

  • Brad Aaron

    Yeah. Just because I can see a bridge from my apartment and walk it frequently doesn’t mean I know what it’s called, apparently.

  • Simon Phearson

    In the Streetview, you can even see that someone is aware of the problem: there’s a 50-foot or so fence on the southeast side whose only purpose seems to be to discourage pedestrian crossing. You can see someone attempting just that in the northbound lanes’ picture.

  • I’ve cycled around that area a few times and it really is horrendous. Visibility is poor because of the overhead rail lines and driver behavior seems more than unusually poor. The street deserves a comprehensive rethink.

  • Brad Aaron

    You really have to experience it to get how awful it is. The Broadway Bridge is hellacious too.

    Waiting for the bus at 225th Street is a particularly humiliating exercise. There’s no excuse for it.

  • JamesR

    I won’t even ride that stretch anymore. That bridge sees 60mph traffic on an ongoing basis and the 50th Precinct is nowhere to be found. It is an absolute free-for-all and this incident was just a matter of time. Instead, I go way out of my way and ride up to Spuyten Duyvil to cross via the Henry Hudson Bridge. So inconvenient, but the peace of mind is worth it.

  • If the route across the Henry Hudson Bridge improves, I will certainly not use the Broadway Bridge again. Apart from anything else, the “road surface” on the bridge is far from fun to cycle across.

  • Greg

    Brandon wasn’t trying to antagonize you – he was trying to be helpful (as far as I see) and simply misread the entry. No need to get so defensive.

  • DD

    Friday and have to cross that intersection several times to get to the southbound 1 train or to eat at McDonalds.

    It’s an obvious tragedy waiting to happen, and the tragedy happened last night.

    I considered reporting the poor traffic light timing situation to NYC engineers, but a few months ago there were DOT people monitoring traffic flow using black tubes that seemed to count the volume of cars that ran over the tube, as well as people holding hand clickers to count pedestrians – so I thought they were already planning changes to the traffic light timing to improve pedestrian safety.

    Nothing has changed yet, it’s still unsafe to walk across the street.

  • WoodyinNYC

    I don’t go there often, but I ALWAYS use the pedestrian walk on the side.

    Signs tell me not to do it but since cops aren’t ever bothering the speeding vehicles, I figure they won’t bother me. Of course, I’m an old white man so I can get away with a lot of stuff.

    But to ride ON the bridge? I’d need a box of Depends for such an experience.

  • Ari_F_S

    Hit and run collisions are an epidemic, but I’m not sure we can blame “Albany’s failure to make penalties more severe.”

    As all Streetsblog readers know, drivers who remain on the scene are rarely charged/convicted. So a person who flees the scene is not likely thinking logically.

    Don’t get me wrong, penalties should be higher. But I don’t think the currently low penalties are causing the problem in any way.

  • Maggie

    I drive this stretch of Broadway a couple times a year – to skip the Henry Hudson Bridge toll and to gas up a rental car before returning it – and I find it nearly impossible to feel safe driving here too. I don’t think this stretch of Broadway works well for anybody.

    Condolences to Mr. Cabrera’s family – this is so sad. I wish Columbia would speak up more strongly for pedestrian safety and vision zero.

  • Joe R.

    I wasn’t familiar with this bridge so I googled it. Yikes! Not only does it look like a free for all for cars, but it has the old school metal gratings which used to be on many other city bridges, including the Queensboro. Not a place I’d care to ride on, either.

  • Jeremy Lenz

    I’ve always thought that a protected bike lane would be such a good use of the space between the pillars holding up the elevated train and the curbs. I never really thought about it before but that area really could use a good redesign to make it safer for pedestrians and more bike-friendly.

  • WoodyinNYC

    If we have $100 to spend, please let’s not waste our money or our time on more cops and more tickets. Like you, I don’t think it’s very effective.

    Let’s go for broke on better infrastructure, more pedestrian islands, narrower lanes for traffic, more protected bike lanes, etc. We know for sure that stuff makes a real difference.

  • DianaLou

    It’s awful, and I reported this intersection a couple of weeks ago. You can easily contact the DOT to ask for improvements: http://www.nyc.gov/html/dot/html/contact/contact-form.shtml?routing=bx

    Maybe if enough people raise this issue, something will be done about it.

  • DianaLou

    Everyone should be in touch with the Bronx DOT to voice their complaints: http://www.nyc.gov/html/dot/html/contact/contact-form.shtml?routing=bx

  • MatthewEH

    Gah, yes, this 15 block section of Broadway is terrible. I’ve never been hit by a car while biking, but my two closest calls in NYC were both on this stretch of Broadway. In both cases traffic on the main roadway was stopped, but the service roadway outside the pillars was clear. I was proceeding slowly in the service road when someone in the main roadway suddenly decided to switch up, abruptly and without looking. Both times.

    I don’t ride it any more — I always make a point of using the designated bike routes on Tibbett Avenue, etc., instead now.

    As an aside, if even just a crossover catwalk could be built that allows access to either side of Broadway from either platform of the 225th Street 1 station, that’d be a tremendous improvement on its own.

    As for the Broadway Bridge, I simply ride there on the sidewalk. Some pedestrians will yap at you as the signs say not to ride there, but most are sympathetic. New York Cycle Club riders agree with this choice: apparently in multiple past rides people have lost control on the grating surface, crashed, and required hospitalization.

    I would imagine the surface is a metal grate to make the roadbed lighter, btw. The bridge (including the elevated 1 train tracks!) is occasionally raised to let large boats through.

  • Nathanael

    Given that cops actually have parked their cars in and driven along the pedestrian and bike paths on other bridges, it’s not like they have any interest in enforcing any of the traffic laws. 🙁

  • Joe Braia

    Dan was a great, good natured & funny guy. Rode the Metro North train with him many times, hung out together on occasion. I’ll miss him.

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