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Community Board Wants Police Reports for Pedestrian-Involved Crashes

By Maya Rajamani | February 18, 2016 3:47pm
 A woman was fatally struck at the intersection of 11th Avenue and West 37th Street, officials said.
A woman was fatally struck at the intersection of 11th Avenue and West 37th Street, officials said.
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DNAinfo/John Santore

CHELSEA — Less than a week after a woman was fatally struck by a dump truck near the Jacob Javits Convention Center, local officials announced a plan to request police reports on all fatal or serious pedestrian-vehicle crashes that happen in the area and surrounding neighborhoods.

At a Community Board 4 Transportation Committee meeting on Wednesday, the board agreed to write a letter asking the 10th Precinct, the Midtown North Precinct and the Midtown South Precinct to send them reports with details of any accidents involving pedestrians or cyclists.

Seeing the reports would help community board members recommend site-specific safety measures to the Department of Transportation, committee chairwoman Christine Berthet said.

“[W]e don’t have all the information about the crashes, so we can’t ask for specific measures that the Department of Transportation can implement,” she said.

On Friday, a 48-year-old woman was crossing 11th Avenue at West 37th Street around 10 a.m. when she was hit by a truck turning westbound onto the avenue, police said.

A woman who witnessed the collision from a cab behind the truck said the pedestrian may have been in the truck driver’s blind spot.

Trucks often race through that intersection, a nearby parking lot manager told DNAinfo New York.

“You see a lot of car accidents because people are trying to beat the light,” he said.

After the meeting Wednesday, Berthet described the area around the Javits Center as “very dangerous” for pedestrians.

David Warren, a committee member and head of the Chelsea Reform Democratic Club, first raised the idea of requesting police reports at the meeting.

“You hear about the accidents, and the district attorney, a lot of times, dismisses them," he said, "and we always hear it’s because of the police report."

However, Inspector John Hart, the commanding officer of the Midtown North Precinct, said providing police reports to CB4 would likely involve a policy change.

“It’s a legal policy question,” he told DNAinfo Thursday. “This type of request would be for all community boards, not just CB4.”

After Wednesday’s meeting, Warren said he felt CB4 has a responsibility to follow up on pedestrian traffic injuries and fatalities and recommend improvements to agencies like the Department of Transportation.

“It’s in our area — we’re responsible. We’re the first level of government people would come to,” he said.

“We can learn something from a fatal crash report — so it doesn’t happen again.”