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Crashes Up But Injuries Down This Year on Upper West Side, Police Say

By Emily Frost | December 10, 2015 11:38am
 The whole corridor along West 96th Street is problematic in terms of the frequency of crashes at each intersection. The DOT redesigned the West 96th Street and Broadway intersection, pictured here, but it remained a hot spot for crashes in the first nine months of 2015.
The whole corridor along West 96th Street is problematic in terms of the frequency of crashes at each intersection. The DOT redesigned the West 96th Street and Broadway intersection, pictured here, but it remained a hot spot for crashes in the first nine months of 2015.
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UPPER WEST SIDE — Car and bike crashes in the northern part of the Upper West Side have risen at a higher rate than those citywide this year — as well as at a quicker clip than all Manhattan neighborhoods combined north of 59th Street, according to police data.

Between Jan. 1 and Dec. 6, there were 1,296 crashes in the 24th Precinct — which runs from West 86th to 110th streets between and Riverside and Central parks — compared with 1,142 during the same period last year. Both cyclist and vehicle crashes are included in these figures. 

The precinct's 13.5 percent increase has outpaced the 5.59 percent increase in collisions citywide, as compared to last year, data shows.

The 24th Precinct's collision increase is also higher than that of all 12 precincts north of 59th Street in Manhattan combined. 

The percentage increase in crashes in those 12 precincts added up to a 9.98 jump this year over last, said Capt. Marlon Larin, commanding officer of the 24th Precinct. 

"We don’t know why our precinct alone has this increase... Was it more drivers on the roads? Is it traffic redesigns? I’m not ready to comment on that yet," he said at a community board meeting Tuesday. 

However, injuries from crashes in this part of the neighborhood decreased slightly this year compared to last. Only one pedestrian was killed in the 24th Precinct this year, compared to seven pedestrian deaths by this time in 2014, police said. 

Injuries from Crashes

The total number of injuries from a collision of any kind — involving cyclists, pedestrians, drivers or passengers — stood at 237 this year compared to 244 in 2014, Larin said.

Only one injury thus far this year was deemed critical, he noted. In early November, an 88-year-old woman was killed by a cabdriver as she crossed the street at West 109th Street and Columbus Avenue. 

Crashes in which a pedestrian was injured dropped by 27 percent this year as compared to last, from 92 in 2014 to 67 in 2015 between Jan. 1 to Dec. 6. 

Injuries for cyclists also fell slightly, by 17.7 percent, from 45 in 2014 to 37 so far this year.

The number of injuries to individuals in a vehicle increased during the same time period, with 133 injuries this year compared to 107 last year, police said.


The precinct's enforcement of drivers failing to yield has gone down this year. Larin noted that the decrease is related to the drop in pedestrian injuries. With the uptick in driver injuries and crashes across the precinct, officers put their focus on enforcing red-light violations, speeding and drivers that disobey street signs.

Officers handed out 1,008 tickets to drivers running red lights so far this year, compared to 567 last year between Jan. 1 to Dec. 6, police said.

During the same period, officers wrote 543 speeding tickets to drivers versus 459 last year.

They also wrote 1,957 tickets for disobeying traffic signs — such as no-left-turn sign — versus 1,561 last year. 

However, failure-to-yield tickets — a traffic violation linked to pedestrian deaths and injuries — have been down slightly this year, with officers writing 558 such summonses to drivers compared to 570 last year. 

As most of the injuries involved people in cars, officers put their focus on related traffic violations, such as speeding and running red lights, rather than failure to yield, Larin said.

Hot Spots

West 96th Street, which underwent major intersection redesign at Broadway in 2014, remains a problematic area for traffic crashes, the commanding officer said.

"The bulk of our enforcement does come from that 96th Street corridor," he noted.

From Jan. 1 to Sept. 30, the site with the most crashes in the precinct — 26 collisions — was West End Avenue and West 96th Street.

Following closely behind, the intersection of West 96th Street and Amsterdam Avenue saw 24 crashes, West 96th Street and Broadway had 20 crashes, and West 96th Street and Central Park West had 19 crashes, police said.

Additionally, there were 24 crashes recorded at West 97th Street and Columbus Avenue; 23 crashes at West 100th Street and Columbus Avenue; 22 crashes at West 86th Street and Broadway; and 20 crashes at West 97th Street and Amsterdam Avenue. 

"As it relates to the citywide picture, we are in a better place than most precincts, but these numbers are still too high," Larin explained. "Our goal is to address these corridors before another major collision."

Community Board 7 members offered to work with the 24th Precinct to further analyze the crashes happening at these hot spots, such as time of day and type of crash. Larin enthusiastically accepted the offer, given the precinct has only one person devoted to analyzing traffic data, he said. 

"We’ll take all the help we can get in terms of making the data speak better," Larin said. 

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