LOWER MANHATTAN — After a woman was struck in a hit-and-run collision just steps from a Lower Manhattan elementary school earlier this week, the school is again pressing for a crossing guard — a needed precaution on a block with a history of safety issues, parents and administrators say.
“The accident on Monday was awful and it could have been even worse,” said Spruce Street School principal Nancy Harris. “We’ve already had one man killed on this block, we need more attention to this issue — a crossing guard and a stop to the illegal parking by big trucks on the sidewalk.”
On April 11, parents and children headed to the 8 Spruce St. school were sent running as a white car jumped a sidewalk along Beekman Street around 8 a.m. and struck a woman walking along the congested block.
The victim, whose identity was not released by NYPD, was taken to nearby New York Presbyterian/Lower Manhattan Hospital in stable condition.
The accident comes three years after a UPS worker was killed by an SUV that jumped the curb on Beekman Street. Since then, in response to community pressure, the Department of Transportation placed a traffic light on the corner of Beekman and William Streets, as well as street markings to help slow traffic.
But parents and the principal say it’s clearly not enough to stop these accidents. The call for a crossing guard is not new, but they hope now they’ll be heard.
Also at issue, the principal and parents say, are the large delivery trucks that often park illegally on the sidewalk along the school block, cutting off space for pedestrians to walk, and creating blind spots for drivers.
The school, which sits at the base of the soaring residential tower and down the block from New York Presbyterian Hospital/ Lower Manhattan Hospital, said their block is congested with traffic and a variety of delivery trucks.
There’s also constant construction on the block as a new dorm for nearby Pace University is being built.
Harris said she’s been in contact with the 1st Precinct about securing a crossing guard, but she was told by NYPD that there’s a currently a shortage of crossing guards.
She was also told that the NYPD would try to crack down on the illegally parked vans.
The NYPD did not return a request for comment.
At a Community Board 1 meeting Thursday night, John DeLucia, the Department of Transportation's director of street reconstruction for the Lower Manhattan borough commissioner's office, said there were plans to install another traffic light, at the opposite end of the block, on Beekman and Nassau Streets, by May, to help with cars zipping up the street.
The other issues, however, were not within the DOT's purview, he said.