UWS Pedestrian Collisions Up More Than 70 Percent This Year, Police Say
UPPER WEST SIDE — Collisions involving pedestrians are on the rise this year despite an increase in traffic enforcement in the area, police said.
The 24th Precinct has seen a 71 percent increase in pedestrian collisions so far in 2014 compared to the same time last year, officers said.
Since January, there have been 36 collisions in the precinct, which spans from West 86th Street to West 110th Street between Central Park and the Hudson River. There were 21 pedestrian collisions during the same period in 2013, the precinct reported.
Three of those collisions have resulted in deaths, while there were none during the same period last year.
"A vehicle that’s not handled correctly on the street is like a flying weapon," said Capt. Marlon Larin, the precinct's new commanding officer.
On Jan. 10, Alex Shear was killed by a bus on West 96th Street, shortly before 9-year-old Cooper Stock was struck and killed by a taxi that failed to yield on West 97th Street. Later that month, Samantha Lee, 26, a medical student at Columbia University, was also killed by an ambulance at West 96th Street.
Officers have been doling out more traffic tickets in the area, handing out 168 failure-to-yield summonses to drivers this year compared with 107 during the same period last year, he said.
Failure to yield has been a major concern for residents, especially after investigators found the cab that struck and killed Cooper had failed to yield while turning onto West End Avenue from West 97th Street.
Additionally, 118 summonses for illegal turns were give out this year compared with 79 during this time last year, Larin noted.
The precinct has moved to address speeding by bringing in two radar guns with the hope of adding a third, with 12 officers trained to use the devices, he explained.
Police handed out 65 summonses for speeding this year, compared to 25 during the same time last year, Larin said.
Targeting the city's jaywalking culture is an uphill battle, he added. The precinct would not start ticketing pedestrians without doing a thorough canvas of the neighborhood with fliers as part of an outreach campaign, he said.
Department of Transportation construction at West 96th Street and Broadway — one of the intersections considered most problematic by residents — is under way to make the intersection safer and more functional for pedestrians.