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After Fatal Crash, Rodriguez Asks DOT for W. 207th Street Safety Study

4:01 PM EDT on June 17, 2015

Two drivers hit two pedestrians, killing a 24-year-old man, on W. 207th Street at Ninth Avenue in Inwood. Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez has asked DOT to study W. 207th for potential safety measures. Image: Google Maps
Two drivers hit two pedestrians, killing a 24-year-old man, on W. 207th Street at Ninth Avenue in Inwood. Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez has asked DOT to study W. 207th for potential safety measures. Image: Google Maps

City Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez wants DOT to study safety improvements for an Inwood street where drivers killed a pedestrian and injured a second victim last night.

Two drivers struck two men, ages 24 and 35, as they attempted to cross W. 207th Street near Ninth Avenue at around 10:27 p.m. The victims entered the street "outside the crosswalk," saw vehicle traffic approaching, and were trying to run back to the curb when they were hit by a driver traveling westbound in a Ford SUV, according to NYPD and published reports. The victims were thrown into the eastbound lane and were hit by a second driver in a Toyota sedan.

The 24-year-old victim died and the second victim was hospitalized in serious condition. As of this afternoon, NYPD was withholding the name of the deceased pedestrian pending family notification.

The NYPD public information office had no information on driver speed, a key factor in the severity of the crash. Police said both drivers passed sobriety tests and no charges were filed. The drivers' names were not released.

Anonymous police sources blamed the victims in the press, telling the Daily News they "bolted across W. 207 St. outside the crosswalk," while exculpating the SUV driver. "The driver of the vehicle hit the brakes, but couldn’t stop in time," cops told WCBS.

The crash occurred in the 34th Precinct, where local officers issue around 13 speeding summonses a month.

The intersection of W. 207th Street and Ninth Avenue is wide and hazardous. This stretch of W. 207th Street is often clogged with honking drivers headed to and from the Bronx via the University Heights Bridge. According to the city’s Vision Zero map, three pedestrians were injured at W. 207th and Ninth in 2015 as of the end of May, in addition to nine motor vehicle occupants -- an indication that drivers are colliding at high speeds.

Through May of this year a total of 22 people were injured in traffic on W. 207th Street, which is seven blocks long and is one of Inwood's main commercial corridors. On average that's more injuries per month than occurred in 2014, when 38 people were hurt on W. 207th, according to city data.

Rodriguez is the local council rep and chair of the transportation committee. Today he issued the following statement:

I am deeply saddened by the news that two men in my district were struck by multiple vehicles on 207th and 9th avenue, marking the 4th crash on the corridor this year. My condolences to the families affected by this tragic crash in this difficult time. This tragic event is yet another avoidable crash that shines light on the deeper issue and struggle to keep our streets safe. In order to achieve Vision Zero, we need to fight to create a culture shift in the streets of New York that will help increase pedestrian and driver accountability. That is why I am working closely with the Department of Transportation to making lasting change on the 207th street corridor and end avoidable pedestrian crashes.

It's not clear what Rodriguez has in mind for the street. Rodriguez spokesperson Lucas Acosta told Streetsblog the council member had previously asked DOT to study the intersection of W. 207th and Broadway, where 14 were injured in crashes last year, for potential safety improvements. "After this incident he has asked them to expand that study to the entire 207th Street corridor," Acosta said via email.

We've asked DOT about Rodriguez's request. We'll update here if we hear back.

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