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Pedestrian Killed By Hit-and-Run Driver on Canal: Cops

A Chinatown pedestrian was struck and killed by a hit-and-run driver early on Wednesday on the notoriously dangerous Canal Street.

Photo: Gersh Kuntzman|

Hours after the crash, there were no remnants.

A Chinatown pedestrian was struck and killed by a hit-and-run driver early on Wednesday on the notoriously dangerous Canal Street.

According to the NYPD, the pedestrian was struck in the roadway in front of a building between Lafayette Street and Broadway at around 4:50 a.m.

Police found the man, whose name has not been released, unconscious and unresponsive face up in the roadway, the victim of severe body trauma.

The man, who was said to be in his 30s, was taken to Bellevue Hospital, where he died. Cops said the driver of a dark colored SUV fled. Police did not know which direction the driver was traveling.

Canal Street is one of the most dangerous places in the city — and has long been a focal point for street safety advocates. Last year, on just the half-mile between Broadway and the Bowery, there were 84 reported crashes, injuring 27 people, including six cyclists and eight pedestrians, according to city stats.

In the 10 years of Vision Zero, there have been 2,680 reported crashes, injuring 448 people, including 66 cyclists and 140 pedestrians, with one cyclist and four pedestrians killed.

Everyone acknowledges that the roadway is unsafe, especially in the early morning or late night hours when Canal is not its normal parking lot. In 2020, Manhattan Community Board 1's Transportation Committee told the Department of Transportation that it was tired of studies on Canal Street and demanded safety improvements.

Canal Street often has way more pedestrians than cars. Photo: Adrian Mak

With seven lanes that are 10-to-13-feet wide given over to car traffic, Canal resembles a highway more than a neighborhood thoroughfare. Almost 90 percent of the space on Canal Street is set aside for motorists, yet at some times during the day, there are three times as many pedestrians as cars.

The DOT did have a virtual workshop to discuss the danger in 2022. Last year, the agency also launched an eight month study to improve the car sewer’s safety for pedestrians and cyclists. Locals told the agency in a survey over the summer that the sidewalks were too narrow and that the crossings were too long.

The study was scheduled to wrap up by December, but DOT has yet to publish its findings.

The area's Council Member, Chris Marie, said the death should motivate the city to work quickly.

"If this preventable death does not spur Mayor Adams and the Department of Transportation to action, then one of the most heavily trafficked streets in New York City is going to continue to be one of the most incident-prone," he said. "Pedestrians, cyclists, neighbors, even drivers are all desperate for changes. The data is already collected, street surveys have been conducted. There is no excuse for Canal Street to remain as a vague target for a secret study. Its redesign must be met with the urgency that this death demands."

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