More Death in a Dangerous Part of Jackson Heights

The confluence of Roosevelt Avenue, 74th Street and Broadway presents dangers for pedestrians. Another person was killed on Monday. Photo: Ben Verde
The confluence of Roosevelt Avenue, 74th Street and Broadway presents dangers for pedestrians. Another person was killed on Monday. Photo: Ben Verde

Residents of Jackson Heights were horrified — but not surprised — that a pedestrian had been struck and killed in the intersection of 75th Street and Roosevelt Avenue early Monday morning.

Neighborhood have long complained about safety in the congested area where the pedestrian, whose name was not released, was run over by the 55-year-old driver of a Q33 bus at around 2:30 a.m. And statistics show 23 crashes in the blocks around that key transit stop, resulting in 14 pedestrian and 3 cyclist injuries, since 2016.

“You have to be very careful,” said Jackson Heights resident Joseph Caneps. “There’s a lot of traffic, there’s a lot of people, there’s a lot of buses coming out of that terminal.”

Cristina Furlong, co-founder of advocacy group Make Queens Safer, said the city should install pedestrian islands on either side of the 74th Street transit hub, which includes the MTA bus terminal. She also pointed out that heavily immigrant, working-class neighborhoods tend to be the ones that don’t get much attention from city officials.

“It’s always brutal to see another person get killed when we know this problem exists,” Furlong said. “DOT [waits] for advocates to march on the street before they do anything, but unfortunately this is an immigrant neighborhood and not everyone can do that.”

A police car was on the scene of the death on Monday, which likely means cops will be handing out tickets to cyclists for the next three days. Photo: Ben Verde
A police car was on the scene of the death on Monday, which likely means cops will be handing out tickets to cyclists for the next three days. Photo: Ben Verde

Some residents specifically blamed the influx of app-based taxis such as Ubers and Lyfts for adding to the congestion and competition in recent years.

“All these Ubers, they run red lights, they’re in a rush to get where they’re going,” said a pedestrian on Roosevelt who gave Streetsblog the name Gould.

This isn’t the first time an MTA bus has taken a life in the area. A Q53 bus struck and killed 25-year-old Martha Tibillin-Guamug in 2014 as she crossed Broadway near Roosevelt.

The Department of Transportation has been aware of the conditions in the neighborhood since it conducted a case study in 2010. Since then it has made efforts to calm traffic in the neighborhood by adding bike lanes on other area streets and turning a portion of 37th Road into a pedestrian plaza to eliminate roadway conflicts.

The neighborhood has landed back on the list of priority areas in the DOT’s 2019 pedestrian safety plan update.

 

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