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82-Year Old Woman Dies After South Street Traffic Accident

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South Street at Rutgers Slip.
South Street at Rutgers Slip.

Police confirmed this morning that one of three victims of a traffic accident on South Street last Thursday morning has died as a result of her injuries. Shu Fan Huang lived at 201 Madison St., just two blocks from the scene of the accident.  She was 82 years old.

The women were all rushed to Bellevue Hospital after the accident, which occurred just before 7 a.m. A driver, a 34-year-old woman, was not given a ticket. Police believe the pedestrians were walking against the signal.

Earlier today, City Council member Chin put out a statement indicating she’d learned just last night of Huang’s death.  She called it a “sad reminder of the need for swift action to review the signals, signage and other elements (in the area) in order to make them safer for all pedestrians to cross, regardless of their age or level of mobility.” Chin added, “I am so deeply saddened to learn of this woman’s death, and my heart is with her family in this tragic time… This is a devastating moment for the Chinatown and Lower East Side communities, and we can never replace a life that has been lost. But we can honor that life by taking positive steps to make our community safer.”

As we reported yesterday, the city has agreed to a safety review in the immediate vicinity of the accident. There’s a new recreational area on the East River Esplanade at Rutgers Street, which has attracted more foot traffic to the area. Today Chin said:

This tragic death underscores the fact that these safety reviews must be completed as soon as possible, and I will be speaking with DOT to make sure that is the case. We cannot ignore this, and we cannot wait. No one should ever be afraid to cross the street as they take a morning walk to enjoy the waterfront. This is our community. It’s our home. The East River Esplanade is a beautiful place — but if we’re going to encourage residents to take advantage of it, we must also make every conceivable effort to keep those residents safe from harm. This can’t happen again. I’m going to work with DOT and all our community stakeholders to make sure it doesn’t.

The other victims, both in their 60’s, suffered serious injuries but are expected to recover.

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  1. For years, our residents have asked for safety changes to this street. Whether it’s the intercity, MTA or Chinatown buses which illegally park on that street obscuring vision, or the massive amount of speeding traffic that flows off the FDR, changes are needed today. As recently as last week (actually, the day before the accident), we met with local officials to voice our concerns about this street and other issues. We sincerely believe that this could have been prevented.
    Basketball City, Pier 36, Pier 42 and now the new exercise area at Pier 35, have all led to an incredible amount of foot traffic flowing down to the Rutgers Slip crossing. Hundreds of seniors (with grandchildren in tow) used that exercise area every week. With all of the haphazard concrete barriers, irregular street markings, lack of police enforcement and other chaos which defines that stretch, we need for DOT to act immediately to make sure this never happens again.

  2. We all of Tenants United Fighting For Lower East Side
    (TUFF-LES) are deeply saddened by the news of the tragic passing of Shu Fan
    Huang who was stuck by a vehicle on South Street last Thursday along with 2
    other women. Our thoughts and prayers
    are with the families of all 3 women and our sympathies and condolences to the
    surviving members of Shu Fan Huang’s family in this time of mourning.

    Unfortunately, this recent turn of events only underscores
    the urgent need for immediate attention to the safety concerns we have in the
    community regarding the various unsafe crossings along the stretch of South
    Street between Montgomery Street to Pike Street.

    We need to The Department of Transportation to move quickly
    as Council Member Chin as has requested.

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