DOT, Chaim Deutsch, and CB 15 Set Stage for Latest MTA Pedestrian Death

When Council Member Chaim Deutsch and Brooklyn CB 15 objected, DOT dropped a plan that would have eliminated B36 turns at the intersection where an MTA bus driver killed Eleonora Shulkin, indicated by the red arrows. Image: DOT
When Council Member Chaim Deutsch and Brooklyn CB 15 objected, DOT dropped a plan that would have eliminated B36 turns at the intersection where an MTA bus driver killed Eleonora Shulkin, indicated by the red arrows. Image: DOT

An MTA bus driver killed a pedestrian in a crosswalk in Sheepshead Bay Monday. The crash happened at an intersection where DOT planned to eliminate bus turns, but the project was shelved in response to opposition from City Council Member Chaim Deutsch and Brooklyn Community Board 15.

Eleonora Shulkin, 62, was crossing E. 17th Street at around 6 p.m. when she was struck by the driver of a B36, who was turning left from Avenue Z.

The intersection where the crash occurred has marked crosswalks and traffic signals, with no apparent dedicated turn phase for vehicles. Shulkin was crossing east to west in the E. 17th Street crosswalk, according to WABC. Anonymous police sources told News 12 the victim had the right of way, but the NYPD public information office could not confirm. Police have not released the driver’s name and no charges were filed as of this morning.

MTA bus drivers have killed at least four people walking since November 1. Three of the four victims were in the crosswalk and were hit by bus drivers making turns.

Reducing conflicts between pedestrians and turning buses is one Vision Zero strategy to reduce pedestrian injuries and deaths. Last summer DOT and the MTA proposed to straighten the B36’s circuitous route on Avenue Z and Sheepshead Bay Road between E. 17th Street and E. 14th Street. By keeping buses on Avenue Z, where stops would have been centralized, DOT aimed to improve safety at a number of crossings where collisions are frequent — including the site of Monday’s crash, where the left turn for B36 buses would have been eliminated.

Traffic injuries and deaths in the area where Shulkin was struck, which has a large number of subway to bus transfers and a high concentration of senior residents. Image: DOT
Traffic injuries and deaths in the area where Shulkin was struck, which has a large number of subway to bus transfers and a high concentration of senior residents. Image: DOT

Rerouting the B36 was part of a comprehensive plan that would have also converted one block of E. 15th Street to a public plaza and repurposed a slip lane on E. 17th Street at Sheepshead Bay Road, one block south of where Shulkin was struck, for pedestrian space.

Deutsch and CB 15 objected to the DOT proposal because they said the E. 15th Street plaza would attract homeless people. CB 15 chair Theresa Scavo opposed design changes for Sheepshead Bay Road.

As indicated in the above DOT image, 14 people were injured at E. 17th Street and Avenue Z between 2009 and 2013 — the highest number of injuries among all intersections included in the DOT plan. Drivers severely injured five pedestrians and two cyclists in the area from 2009 to 2013, according to DOT, and killed one pedestrian on Avenue Z at E. 15th Street.

Officers from the 61st Precinct, where Eleonora Shulkin was killed, ticket between one and two drivers for failing to yield per day.

  • Zero Vision

    Mayor de Blasio to the Wall Street Journal today: “I respect community boards. But community boards don’t get to decide.”

    So here’s a good Vision Zero test of that statement, Mr. Mayor. A woman died because of a community board’s decision. You should send your DOT back to institute the changes as originally proposed.

  • It’s interesting to note the reason for rejecting the pedestrian plaza – it would attract homeless people – is similar to Bratton’s reasoning for reopening Broadway across Times Square – that it would get rid of the desnudas. Traffic seems to be valued in some circumstances precisely because it drives out people.

  • com63

    Hopefully the post will be all over this. Community board kills pedestrian!

  • Was the current route designed to maximize bus delays?

  • Joe R.

    Not that I would normally call attention to people’s names, but given the circumstances here what an appropriate last name.

  • Andrew

    DOT, Chaim Deutsch, and CB 15

    And former Streetsblog commenter Allan Rosen: http://www.sheepsheadbites.com/2015/06/commute-proof-nyc-dots-mission-increase-traffic-congestion/

  • Andrew

    So it seems. I believe the current route was designed by Allan Rosen, in the late 1970’s (during his brief tenure as a bus planner), to very slightly reduce the subway transfer walk at the expense of los of unnecessary turns.

  • Maggie

    Literally my first thought when I looked at this intersection on streetview: why does a bus route have to turn here? Looks stupid dangerous.

  • And who decided to let the CB veto this safety improvement? Mayor de Blasio and his murderist minion Polly Trottenberg have an innocent grandmother’s blood on their hands for this.

  • AlexWithAK

    Indeed. This is a perfect political opportunity for de Blasio to assert city agencies’ authority over community boards. Their input is advisory and that needs to be acknowledged after a tragedy like this. Sadly, BdB has shown time and again he has no spine for such confrontations.

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

DOT Drops Sheepshead Bay Plaza Plan After Oppo From Deutsch, CB 15

|
More space for people near the Sheepshead Bay subway station? Council Member Chaim Deutsch and Community Board 15 aren’t interested. A proposal from DOT to add pedestrian space near the Sheepshead Bay express stop [PDF] was panned last month by Deutsch and the CB 15 transportation committee (that would be these guys). The project now appears to have been dropped by […]