NYPD: Another Pedestrian is Killed on Deadly Church Avenue

Here's the intersection of E. Fifth St. and Church Avenue where a pedestrian was struck. He later died from his injuries. Photo: Google
Here's the intersection of E. Fifth St. and Church Avenue where a pedestrian was struck. He later died from his injuries. Photo: Google

A reckless driver hit and killed a 50-year-old man on dangerous Church Avenue — the latest fatality in a year that’s experiencing a double-digit increase in road bloodshed.

Police say a 21-year-old driver of a 2015 Nissan was traveling north on E. Fifth Street at around midnight on June 27 — and struck the pedestrian in a crosswalk as he tried to make a left turn onto Church. 

The driver, whose name was not released, stayed on the scene as paramedics rushed the victim to Maimonides Hospital in critical condition. The pedestrian, whose name was also not released, died of his injuries on July 6, police said on Wednesday.

The driver was not immediately charged.  An NYPD spokesman said police are still investigating. 

The crash occurred just 1,500 feet away from another Church Avenue intersection where another driver killed a single mother on Monday. In that case, police say 63-year-old Claudette Crosby hit and killed 49-year-old Maria Del Carmen Porras-Hernandez as she was also crossing inside the marked crosswalk at Church Avenue and Coney Island Avenue.

Cops later arrested Crosby and slapped her with summonses for failure to yield to a pedestrian and failure to exercise due care.

The latest death is the 110th so far this bloody year — an 18.3-percent increase in road fatalities since 2018, according to the Department of Transportation. As of Tuesday, 56 pedestrians have been killed so far this year, which is three more than this time last year, and 15 cyclists have been killed, which is eight more than this time last year. 

Cyclists and safe-street activists held a die-in in Washington Square Park on Tuesday night to send a message to Mayor de Blasio and to drivers citywide to stop killing them.

  • ItsEasyBeingGreen

    Streets like this aren’t going to get much better so long as the City insists that they can’t put in pedestrian refuge islands without reserving a huge center median for the entire length of the street. That’s evidently not a requirement in Stockholm (the safety city in the world?) where they have these islands at pretty much every crosswalk that crosses a wide street.

    Oh well, I guess it’s time to hand out some education cards instead. ¯_(?)_/¯

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/0fda9aa0a51752f29ad4588fd20677be7cd94786b3992833fc343c8a45da511d.png https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/791e15e78df592cd6aab290181369297a14affd386653075f9e98743f3ba0994.jpg

  • Urbanely

    Does anybody know (from a traffic engineering perspective) why we even allow cars and pedestrians to mix in this way? Why can’t we halt car traffic (so no turning) when pedestrians need to cross? And stop pedestrians from crossing when cars are turning? It seems like the mix of the two inevitably leads to these tragedies. Even when the City institutes left turn arrows and dedicated left turn lanes, there are always the reckless drivers who cut off the line of cars waiting to turn (sometimes driving down the wrong side of the street to do so) and still endangering the pedestrians who are crossing in the crosswalk, with the light. Is there a reason we can’t mandate that cars/people stop? I’ve seen it in San Diego, so I know it can be done.

  • Zach Katz

    Not wanting to inconvenience car drivers by making them wait a little bit longer. It’s really as simple as that. A “scramble” can be easily implemented anywhere, and is WAY safer: https://www.lamag.com/driver/l-s-scramble-crosswalks-saving-lives/

  • Joe R.

    A few reasons:

    1) Dedicated phases take time away from the green cycle, which means on average everyone will be waiting longer at red lights. This will lead to increased road rage and more deaths, not less.

    2) Pedestrians (and cyclists) don’t reliably obey traffic controls. And system which depends upon them to do so for safety is guaranteed to fail.

    3) NYC has way more busy intersections than San Diego, so you would add delays compounded upon delays, probably in return for little or no gains in safety.

    4) Compliance by motorists with all these complex phases will drop as more are installed, just as compliance with any overuse traffic control will drop, again leading to decreased safety.

    5) People will rightly complain when they have to wait at turning phases and nobody is turning. It’s already a huge problem in this city having lights going red when there’s no cross traffic. We don’t need to add yet more instances of requiring people to stop when nothing is physically in their way.

    Traffic signals in general have a pretty poor record of increasing safety for either pedestrians or cyclists. Most of NYC’s pedestrian fatalities are at signalized intersections. We already have 12,000+ signalized intersections. If they worked so well, hardly anyone would die but they don’t. The real reason for traffic signals is to allow cars to go faster than would otherwise be safe. However, when looked at holistically, they often make no sense. You can have signals with cars going 30 mph on green, but stopped half the time. This give you an average speed of 15 mph. Or you can have cars go slow enough so you don’t need traffic controls. This might be ~20 mph but they will have to slow or stop a lot less, resulting in the same 15 mph as with traffic signals. No traffic signals of course are better for cyclists and pedestrians as they encounter the most serious delays.

    The only real answer is decreasing motor vehicle volumes, hopefully by enough so you can remove most of the traffic signals in NYC.

  • Andrew

    Be careful what you wish for.

    By necessity, splitting up the traffic signal cycle into more distinct phases will result in each phase (on average) getting less green time. At an intersection with an exclusive pedestrian phase, pedestrians will spend more time waiting for the light, and may have less time to get across the street before the light changes. (I say “may” because in many cases – typically where a low-volume side street intersects with a wide major street – pedestrians already have the minimum allowable time based on assumed walking speeds, so at those locations it can’t get any shorter.)

    So, if we assume that everybody is perfectly obedient, it would take much longer for pedestrians to get around the city if we split up the phases as you suggest. (Not just pedestrians, by the way – also drivers, cyclists, bus riders, etc.)

    Of course, not everybody is perfectly obedient. (If they were, we wouldn’t be having this conversation – drivers would yield to pedestrians while turning, as the law requires.)

    So what happens when a pedestrians cross against the light? Right now, a red pedestrian signal typically means that traffic parallel to the pedestrian’s intended movement is stopped but traffic perpendicular is flowing. A pedestrian who sees a large gap in perpendicular traffic may decide to cross against the light, perfectly safely, because it’s obvious that nothing is approaching. But under your proposal, a red pedestrian might mean that perpendicular traffic is flowing and parallel traffic is stopped, or it might mean just the opposite, and it will flip from one to the other with no warning to the pedestrian. So a pedestrian who observes a large gap in traffic flowing in whichever orientation traffic is flowing and takes advantage of the gap to cross the street might be rudely surprised (or worse) when the traffic that had been stopped suddenly starts flowing again. And through traffic moves a lot faster than turning traffic.

    Motorists may also get into the habit of running red lights during the pedestrian-only phase. Lately I’ve been seeing a lot of motorists run red lights that solely protect crosswalks – I guess they’ve figured out that there’s no enforcement, and they’re not the ones who get hurt or killed in a collision with a pedestrian, so why not?

    In other words, the system breaks down once people start disobeying the law. But the problem we have now also stems from people disobeying the law – namely, drivers failing to yield to pedestrians when turning. So what’s the actual benefit? We avoid crashes caused by one sort of disobedience but we instead have more crashes (and possibly more severe crashes) caused by a different sort of disobedience, and we also manage to delay everybody in the process.

    Drivers already know what it means to yield – it’s what they do to oncoming vehicular traffic when they’re turning left. Either they don’t know that they’re required to do the same thing to pedestrians and cyclists (in which case they need to be educated), or they don’t care (in which case they need to be penalized until they start to care).

    (I realize this is an oversimplification – I haven’t quantified the relative degrees of risk, because I don’t have enough information to quantify them. I suspect that in some cases exclusive pedestrian phases have real safety benefits. But I also suspect that in most cases they have, at best, no measurable safety benefit, and more likely that they actually reduce safety.)

    I’ve only been to San Diego once, but based on the little I saw, I have a hunch the exclusive pedestrian phases you’ve seen weren’t installed for pedestrian benefit.

  • kevd

    I’d give it 2weeks till NY Drivers destroyed those.
    wed need reenforced concrete bases 3 feet high.

    we could call the front end damage “education cards”

  • specialmonkey

    I think this is a good idea. To all who say it’s less green time, it could be moderated with press buttons for peds and cyclists to cross during off hours. The current system is not working. The mayor and transportation commissioner are negligent, criminally I dare say.

  • Daphna

    It would be helpful if the journalist reporting on this could specify the neighborhood and borough.

  • IsThatReallyWhy

    This is occurred in Kensington which is located in Brooklyn NY .

  • Daphna

    Thank you.

  • Pietro Gambadilegno

    “Pedestrians (and cyclists) don’t reliably obey traffic controls. Any
    system which depends upon them to do so for safety is guaranteed to
    fail.”

    Based on this brilliant reasoning, we should get rid of all traffic lights.

  • Joe R.

    Actually, that’s not far from the truth. Traffic signals largely exist for only one purpose, which is to make cars go fast. In Europe you see far fewer traffic signals because they only serve a safety purpose in very limited circumstances.

  • Lorraine Hopkins

    The worst is crossing @ ocean parkway and Church Ave. You have to cross in 2 parts because the many cars turning on to the beginning of the prospect expressway / ocean parkway will run you down without hesitation when you have the walk signal. You basically have seconds to get across the 2nd part before their light goes green signalling them to move and make the turn on to highway. Many people have been killed here over the years.

    Also in general when you have the walk signal you have to do some defensive walking and always look if someone is turning into your crosswalk or boom your dead and all they get is a ticket.

  • Andrew

    Wouldn’t it be nice if the police did their jobs?

  • Teofila

    It is conceivable to easily abandon your less paying 9 to 5 job and then start off gaining paycheck monthly around 12000 bucks working from home. Let’s be real, no matter where you’re doing work from, you’re still doing simply that: working. While working at home you got Very flexible daily schedule – you can take rests at any hour, feel no rush to hang up on your friends when they contact you, and eat lunch at any unusual time you like, Stop thinking about crowds or heavy traffic – No stuffing yourself into a rickety transportation tube, having people scuff your brand new shoes, or walking behind agonizingly slow people who apparently don’t know what a straight line is, Much more time with loved ones -Take proper care of a sick significant other at home, get ready for your children earlier in the day, get some extra snuggles in with your doggo, or simply get some peaceful time to your-self! Find out, what it’s about… nanosecondcodger.fuer-alle.de

  • Seymour Butz

    2) Pedestrians (and cyclists) don’t reliably obey traffic controls. Any system which depends upon them to do so for safety is guaranteed to fail. <— guess who else doesn't reliably obey traffic controls and has the ability to kill pedestrians and bikers because they're driving a multi-ton vehicle? God forbid drivers actually yield the right of way while operating their chariot of convenience

  • Joe R.

    You’re absolutely right, which is why any system that mostly depends upon adherence to rules or traffic controls is destined to fail. We need to engineer streets so it’s difficult or impossible for drivers to engage in the type of behavior which kills people. Steel and concrete is like a 24/7/365 traffic cop.

    Adding more confusing phases to a traffic signal system which doesn’t even work to ensure safety isn’t the answer. Failure to yield cameras might help, but I’m sure drivers would oppose them en masse, just as they opposed red light and speed cameras. In the end our priority should be infrastructure, education, enforcement. In this country, we focus solely on enforcement.

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