By Patrick Hedlund
DNAinfo News Editor
LOWER EAST SIDE — A transportation advocacy group is calling on the city to take action at a Lower East Side intersection that it says is a "death trap."
Last week, a 51-year-old woman was struck and killed by a garbage truck near the intersection of Delancey and Essex streets, prompting the nonprofit group Transportation Alternatives to join with elected officials to demand safety improvements at the busy corner.
"This intersection is a death trap for pedestrians," said TA executive director Paul Steely White in a statement, citing a report by the group last year showing 119 crashes involving motor vehicles and pedestrians or cyclists at the spot between 1998 and 2008.
Last week's fatal accident comes a year after a pedestrian was struck and killed by a car while walking through the same intersection.
A female cyclist died in January 2010 when a school bus ran her over at Delancey and Ludlow streets, just a block away. And Community Board 3 member Harry Wieder was killed while walking across Essex Street between Houston and Stanton Streets last April.
"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," White said.
Transportation Alternatives, along with State Sen. Daniel Squadron and Councilwoman Margaret Chin, asked the Department of Transportation to create more safety measures at the high-traffic crossroads.
Suggested improvements include curb extensions, pedestrian refuge islands and extended pedestrian crossing times.
A spokesman for DOT said the agency added a pedestrian interval at the intersection, giving extra time to cross the street, and will also install countdown clocks in the near future.
"Safety is our top priority," the spokesman added. "We have made significant progress in reducing traffic fatalities to record low levels in recent years, and our goal is to continue that trend with further improvements."