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Fatality Renews Call for LES Pedestrian Protection

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The intersection at Delancey and Essex streets is growing in notoriety for pedestrian deaths.

The May 10 accident in which a garbage truck killed a female pedestrian on Delancey Street near Essex has re-ignited the push for pedestrian protection measures near that intersection.

Yesterday, the advocacy group Transportation Alternatives engaged the help of Councilwoman Margaret Chin and state Sen. Daniel Squadron in calling on DOT to fix the dangerous crossing, which was also the site of an April 12, 2010 fatality. Just two weeks later, community activist Harry Weider was killed crossing Essex Street just a block north.

“This intersection is a death trap for pedestrians. There were 119 motor vehicle crashes with pedestrians and cyclists there between 1998 and 2008 alone,” said executive director Paul Steely White in a statement. “Delancey and Essex is the single most dangerous intersection on the East Side and it’s high time we put pedestrians first and deploy life-saving street improvements.”

Chin called the current traffic patterns at Delancey and Essex “unacceptable.”

“This crossing is the most dangerous on the Lower East Side,” she said. “This neighborhood is home to many senior centers, schools, and has experienced increased foot traffic in recent years. It is imperative that our street crossings and traffic patterns meet the needs of this diverse community

Pedestrian and cyclist safety along Delancey Street near the Williamsburg Bridge entrance is sure to be an ongoing news topic in the Lower East Side over the next couple of years, as work begins on the Seward Park Urban Redevelopment Area that lines the south side of Delancey there. At an open house to showcase models for the SPURA project last month, concerns about crossing Delancey dominated many conversations between residents and representatives from the architect and the city who were presenting the plans.

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