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Pedestrian Dies of Injuries After She Was Hit by Driver on Sixth Avenue Kill Zone

10:03 AM EDT on August 16, 2019

Chaos on Sixth Avenue leads to crashes and death. Photo: Julianne Cuba.

The 67-year-old pedestrian who was critically injured when a driver ran over her in a Chelsea crosswalk last week has died of her injuries, police said on Friday.

Melissa McClure had been walking with a friend on Sixth Avenue at around 9 p.m. on Aug. 10, when the driver, attempting a left turn onto W. 15th Street in his massive Chevrolet Silverado, struck her and the friend as they crossed the side street with the light, cops said.

Both women were taken to Bellevue Hospital, where McClure died on Aug. 13. The friend was not hurt badly, cops said. The driver remained at the scene and was not immediately charged. In a rarity for the NYPD, a police spokesperson pointed out in the official report that the driver "was not injured" (as if a driver in a 4,000-pound car has ever been injured by a pedestrian crossing a street).

The crash is the latest evidence that Sixth Avenue is not working for the most vulnerable road users: cyclists and pedestrians.

Earlier this summer, two people have been killed at or near the chaotic intersection of Sixth Avenue and 23rd Street. In June, cyclist Robyn Hightman was killed by a truck driver who initially fled the scene and was given only minor summonses. And in July, pedestrian Michael Collopy died after apparently being hit by a cyclist who fled (the medical examiner is still trying to determine if the cyclist hit Collopy).

Both deaths renewed calls for the Department of Transportation to redesign Sixth Avenue to provide space for the area's dominant road users. At many hours, cyclists and pedestrians far outnumber drivers, yet drivers are given virtually all of the road space.

“What we need is better infrastructure and safer streets that make everyone safer, especially pedestrians and cyclists,” Council Speaker Corey Johnson had tweeted — and that was one day before McClure was hit. “I want to see plans to improve this intersection immediately.”

Streetsblog reported that six cyclists, 18 pedestrians and 15 drivers have been injured at the intersection of Sixth and 23rd since January, 2016 — a crossing that offers very little room for pedestrians beyond small cement traffic islands between cyclists in the bike lane and the speeding drivers on the road.

“This intersection is all set up wrong. The real problem is the island, it kind of incentives people to walk out and stand in the way,” said Gerardo Valencia. “They should really change it.”

Pedestrian and cyclists deaths are up by double-digit percentages this year. Through Aug. 8, 130 people died on New York City streets this year, up from 108 last year. Sixty-seven pedestrians, up from 58 over the same period last year, and 18 cyclists, up from eight over the same period last year, have died.

Those numbers have increased since that report was issued. Streetsblog will update this story with new information as it becomes available.

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