MAP: 52 Pedestrians Hit by Cars on West End Ave. in Past 2 Years

By Emily Frost and Nigel Chiwaya  on July 30, 2014 7:55am

Slideshow
 The avenue has long been considered dangerous by residents and local leaders. The NYPD data shows there have been 52 crashes involving pedestrians between July 2012 and July 2014. 
West End Avenue Crashes, July 2012-14
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UPPER WEST SIDE — As deadly accidents at two West End Avenue intersections this year prompt demands for change, a DNAinfo New York study found that 52 pedestrians have been hurt on the street in just two years.

The findings come as the Department of Transportation prepares to unveil new safety plans for the residential corridor.

Between July 1, 2012, and July 15, 2014 there were 50 crashes in which a pedestrian was injured on the avenue and two crashes where a pedestrian died, according to NYPD data.

Earlier this month, a 61-year-old woman was killed at West End Avenue and West 95th Street while crossing with the walk light.

Six months to the day before that, a 9-year-old boy was struck and killed on the avenue just two blocks north while also crossing with the walk sign.

Though many people associate the neighborhood's busiest intersections with Broadway, West End Avenue, stretching from West 60th Street to 107th Street, has "always been problematic" and "dangerous," Community Board 7 chairwoman Elizabeth Caputo said. 

The issues stem from "so many people coming off the [West Side] highway" and "zipping up from the 60s to the 90s" on residential streets, as well as speeding vehicles coming from the East Side, she said.

In 26 of the crashes, the cause was unspecified by police. Of the remainder, 10 were caused by failure to yield and nine involved distracted driving, the data showed.

Backing up unsafely caused four injuries, while view obstruction, passenger distraction and aggressive driving each caused one crash. 

The intersections with the most pedestrian-involved accidents, as reported by the NYPD, include:

► West End Avenue and West 70th Street: 5 injuries

► West End Avenue and West 97th Street: 4 injuries, 1 death

► West End Avenue and West 72nd Street: 4 injuries

West End Avenue and West 66th Street: 3 injuries

► West End Avenue and West 96th Street: 3 injuries

Caputo, who has overseen many discussions about safety along the avenue, said the board requested changes to West End Avenue well before the most recent fatal crashes. 

Along with the board, residents have lobbied for changes, particularly in the West 90s.

Over the past few months, the Department of Transportation changed the timing of traffic lights at West 95th and 97th streets to allow pedestrians more time to cross with traffic stopped on all sides.

It has also restricted northbound left-hand turns from the west at West 95th Street between 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. on school days, the DOT said.

These are just some of the suggestions for those intersections outlined in a $17,500 study by traffic consultant firm Nelson\Nygaard and presented to CB 7 in June 2013. 

The firm also called for curb extensions along West End Avenue between West 95th and West 97th streets, pedestrian crossing refuges in the middle of those intersections and increasing the ban on all left turns at those intersections. 

In a statement, DOT spokesman Nicholas Mosquera said the department "will also look into other possibilities in consultation with the community and local stakeholders" for changes along West End Avenue.

Community Board 7 and Councilwoman Helen Rosenthal are planning to a host a town hall meeting Thursday focused on West End Avenue. The meeting will be held at P.S. M811, 466 West End Ave., starting at 6:30 p.m. Caputo confirmed that the DOT will present new plans for improving safety on the avenue at the meeting. 

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