Family of Accident Victim Sues City; 523 Accidents at Essex & Delancey
In May, we reported that a 51 year-old woman was killed after being struck by a garbage truck on Delancey Street. Witnesses indicated that Patricia Cuevas (Crockett) was walking in the street, alongside the barrier you see pictured above, and fell down before the tragic accident occurred. The driver was not ticketed or changed with any crime. But now, according to today’s Daily News, the victim’s family is suing the city, the driver and the owner of the truck for $20 million.
In the same article, the News says “crossing Delancey is taking your life into your hands.” It cites state Department of Transportation statistics indicating 523 motor vehicle accidents have occurred at the intersection of Essex and Delancey in the past decade. Attorney Sanford Rubenstein calls the intersection the most dangerous on the East Side:
Rubenstein said it appears Crockett was forced to walk in the roadway because there were concrete barriers along the curb and an orange barricade at the corner of Delancey placed there earlier by city workers after a sidewalk collapse… “It would be an honor for Patricia if something could be done to make the intersection safer so another person wouldn’t have to suffer what Patricia went through,” said her husband, John Cuevas, 48.
Between the years 1998-2010, the state figures show, 134 of the 523 accidents at the intersection involved pedestrians or bicyclists. Three people died. 258 others suffered injuries.
The NYPD did not respond to the Daily News’ request for comment. As for the DOT…
A spokesman for the city Department of Transportation said steps have been taken to make Delancey and Essex Sts. safer and more are planned. “The agency added a leading pedestrian interval at Essex and Delancey in 2008, giving pedestrians exclusive time to cross the street ahead of turning vehicles,” DOT spokesman Monty Dean said in a statement. “Pedestrian countdown signals will [also] be installed, helping pedestrians to avoid being caught in the crosswalk when the light changes.” Dean noted that reengineered streets and retimed traffic signals led to 21% fewer pedestrian fatalities in 2010 than in 2001. “Our goal is to cut traffic injuries and fatalities even further, and we’ll continue to work with communities to make their streets safer for pedestrians, bikers and motorists,” he said.
Organizations such as Transportation Alternatives, the Drum Major Institute for Public Policy, local elected officials and Community Board 3 have all urged the city to take more assertive steps to make the intersection safer.
As for those countdown clocks? A DOT spokesman told us this past March that they would be installed sometime this year., so they still have five months to get the job done.