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Dashane Santana's Death Sparks Call for Delancey Street Crossing Guards

By Julie Shapiro | January 17, 2012 6:52pm

LOWER EAST SIDE — Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver is calling on the city to put crossing guards on Delancey Street after a 12-year-old girl was struck and killed by a minivan on Friday.

Silver is also asking the Department of Transportation to lengthen "walk" signals on Delancey Street and immediately begin an in-depth study of the busy thoroughfare, which residents have long said is unsafe.

"With traffic coming on and off the Williamsburg Bridge and a wide area for pedestrians to cross, there is an urgent need for a more aggressive approach to safety," Silver wrote in a letter to DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan on Tuesday.

"We simply cannot wait for another tragedy to occur. Delancey crossings must be made safer for all those who use the streets, and special care must be taken for children and seniors."

Dashane Santana, 12, was struck by a car and killed on Delancey Street Fri., Jan. 13, 2012.
Dashane Santana, 12, was struck by a car and killed on Delancey Street Fri., Jan. 13, 2012.
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Silver's letter comes four days after Dashane Santana, 12, was killed while crossing Delancey Street at Clinton Street on her way home from school with a group of friends.

Santana was an aspiring musician who lived in the East Village's Jacob Riis II Houses and dreamed of attending The Juilliard School, family members said.

She was hit as she crossed Delancey Street at the entrance to the Williamsburg Bridge, where the street widens to nine lanes of traffic and pedestrians have just 22 seconds to cross.

While the city does not generally pay for crossing guards for all ages, called "pedestrian managers," there is some precedent for hiring them in Manhattan.

In 2010, Silver, a powerful Manhattan Democrat, was instrumental in securing Lower Manhattan Development Corp. funding for pedestrian managers along West Street in Lower Manhattan after residents there said they feared crossing the highway's eight lanes of traffic.

In his letter to Sadik-Khan, Silver said he hoped the city could do something similar on Delancey Street, especially during peak times when children are heading to and from school.

A Department of Transportation spokesman said the agency is reviewing Silver's request.