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FRANTIC ATLANTIC: Another Pedestrian Killed on Deadly Brooklyn Speedway

11:10 AM EDT on October 23, 2021

Dryal Brown was killed on Atlantic Avenue near Nostrand Avenue. Photo: Google

For the second time in as many weeks, a pedestrian has been killed by a hit-and-run driver along a notorious speedway in the heart of Brooklyn that the city has done nothing to remedy.

According to the NYPD, Dyral Brown, 63, was trying to cross Atlantic Avenue at Nostrand Avenue at around 3:10 a.m. on Saturday when he was slammed by the driver of a silver SUV heading westbound at "an apparent high rate of speed" on Atlantic Avenue, one of the borough's most intimidating roadways.

Brown, who lived two blocks from the crash scene on Atlantic Avenue, suffered severe body trauma and was taken to Interfaith Hospital, where he died. The driver fled and has not been apprehended.

The death of Dyral Brown has horrifying echoes of the death of Jose Ramos further east on Atlantic Avenue last week. Except there is one main difference: In the Ramos case, the city at least made a small effort to protect pedestrians, thanks to a $47-million beautification plan between Georgia Avenue and Logan Street that added a few curb extensions and greenery, but no appreciable change in the roadway design of Atlantic, which remains a speedway in East New York. The DOT said it could not make additional changes because of "design constraints," which it defined as the need to move many cars through that area. It is, of course, unclear  whether road redesigns would have saved Brown's life.

But in the portion of Atlantic that functions as the border between Bedford-Stuyvesant on the north and Crown Heights on the south, the city has made no effort at all to rein in drivers. Compare the two photos below. The one on top was taken in late 2013, shortly after Mayor de Blasio's election, one in which he promised an intense focus on street safety. The one on the bottom was taken last year.

Says it all. Photos: Google
Says it all. Photos: Google
Says it all. Photos: Google

The city had promised in 2014 to make some pedestrian improvements at the nearby intersection of Atlantic and Franklin avenues, but those improvements were not made. Further west on Atlantic, as the roadway enters wealthier neighborhoods, the city has made some changes to improve safety. In 2015, it proposed some additional concrete to protect cyclists and pedestrians at the intersection of Washington Avenue. Those changes were made. And many changes were made in the area around the Barclays Center, and, before that, in the stretch of Atlantic that serves as the border between the tony neighborhoods of Brooklyn Heights and Carroll Gardens.

But the carnage continues on Atlantic Avenue to the east — on a stretch that Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams has long sought improvements. According to city records, on Atlantic Avenue between Bedford and Ralph avenues. In 2016, there were 402 reported crashes on that 1.5-mile stretch, injuring seven cyclists, 11 pedestrians and 122 motorists. In 2019, the last full, non-pandemic year for which there is data, there were 450 reported crashes (or 12 percent more), injuring 12 cyclists, 21 pedestrians and 116 motorists.

Meanwhile, in the Riverdale section of the Bronx, a pedestrian was hit and killed by a driver near Broadway and W. 262nd St. at about 4:30 a.m. on Saturday, the Daily News reported. The hit-and-run driver in that case was piloting a white Mercedes.

Citywide, this year remains the bloodiest year of the de Blasio administration's seven-plus-year effort to make roadways safer. Through Thursday, according to the Department of Transportation, 218 people have been killed on streets this year (up from 211 in de Blasio's first year in office), including 94 pedestrians and 28 cyclists and other electric mobility users.

Chart: DOT
Chart: DOT
Chart: DOT

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