UPPER WEST SIDE — There has been a troubling uptick in the number of pedestrians who were hit by drivers over the past month in the area — more than three times as many as in prior years, police said.
The incidence of "pedestrians being struck is up significantly," said Capt. Levon Holley, new commanding officer of the 20th Precinct.
In the 28-day period from March 28 to April 24, there were 10 pedestrians struck within the precinct — compared with only three during the same period last year, he said.
The precinct runs from West 59th to 86th streets between Central and Riverside parks.
"That’s very high," said Holley of the 10 injuries, none of which were fatal.
However, he added that the number of crashes that have happened for the year to date is down compared to last year.
Twenty-six pedestrians had been hit by drivers in 2015 by April 24, while 20 pedestrians have been struck so far in 2016 over the same period, he said.
There have been no repeat locations for where pedestrians were hit in the most recent 28-day period and no observable trends in terms of why they were struck, said Officer Felicia Montgomery, who is in charge of traffic safety at the precinct.
The crashes all happened on major thoroughfares — including Columbus Avenue, Amsterdam Avenue, West End Avenue and Broadway — rather than on side streets, she said.
One crash on Columbus Avenue resulted in two pedestrian injuries, Montgomery said.
In four of the crashes, police officers issued summonses to drivers for failing to yield to pedestrians who were using a crosswalk, she said.
Until recently, an officer had to witness a driver hitting a pedestrian in a crosswalk in order to write a ticket. Now, officers can rely on eyewitness testimony as well as video footage, Montgomery said.
In terms of enforcement, "we're limited in resources," Holley acknowledged.
The precinct does regularly keep a police car stationed at the intersection of West 79th Street and Amsterdam Avenue and will send cars to other hot spots based on the data, he said.
To protect themselves, Holley urged pedestrians and cyclists to put reflector tape on things like canes and bikes because then "those objects become a lot more visible at night," he said.