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Wet Weather Delays Safety Fixes at Deadly Delancey Street Intersection

Dashane Santana, 12, was struck by a car and killed on Delancey Street Friday, Jan. 13, 2012.
Dashane Santana, 12, was struck by a car and killed on Delancey Street Friday, Jan. 13, 2012.
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LOWER EAST SIDE — Wet weather has temporarily delayed the planned safety fixes at the Delancey Street intersection where 12-year-old Dashane Santana was struck and killed in January.

The Department of Transportation was set to start the renovation on Tuesday, but it's been delayed until next week, officials said. The alterations, announced in February and due to be complete by the end of June, include lengthening the crossing time at Delancey and Clinton streets from 22 to 30 seconds.

"Enough is enough," said Dashane's grandmother Teresa Pedroza, who led a fundraising effort to pay for her granddaughter's funeral. Pedroza is circulating two petitions through the Lower East Side neighborhood — one to secure a crossing guard at the intersection where Dashane was killed, the other to get the intersection renamed in her memory.

A spokeswoman for the DOT confirmed the delay, and attributed it to last week's wet weather.

Other changes that will begin next week include reducing the number of pedestrian crossings on Delancey Street to 14, from 19. There will also be improved street markings, a new painted pedestrian plaza between Clinton and Norfolk streets and enhanced traffic patterns throughout the corridor.

Despite the delays, Pedroza said she is encouraged that a safer Delancey Street is in sight.

"As long as the changes help people get across safer," she said, adding the 10-lane strip should be viewed as a highway rather than a street. Dashane, who had hoped to attend The Julliard School, was crossing Delancey Street on Jan. 13 when she was struck and killed by a minivan heading towards the Williamsburg Bridge.

"There is just too much traffic, so much so it is really a highway," Pedroza told DNAinfo.com New York. "Everyone is calling it a street, but it is not."

State Sen. Daniel Squadron commended the DOT on the pending changes, even with the delay.

"By working together, we took dramatic steps toward a safer Delancey in a short amount of time," Squadron said. "Now, we must continue to evaluate and improve Delancey to prevent future tragedies and protect the safety of all its users."

Even before Santana's death, Squadron, along with other community leaders, had formed the Delancey Street Safety Working Group. They organized in September to work with the DOT to improve the strip in response to numerous other deadly incidents.

A cyclist was killed at Delancey and Chrystie streets last August, a 51-year-old woman was killed by a garbage truck at Delancey and Essex streets last spring, and a 74-year-old cyclist was killed by a bus on Delancey Street near Ludlow Street.

In response to the earlier accidents, the DOT installed countdown clocks on Delancey Street crossings last year and recently added concrete barriers around the Williamsburg Bridge entrance.