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Plan for Safer Grand Street Is Coming This Spring

By Gwynne Hogan | January 16, 2017 2:01pm
 An elderly man was fatally struck by a white box truck that fled the scene Monday afternoon, NYPD officials said.
An elderly man was fatally struck by a white box truck that fled the scene Monday afternoon, NYPD officials said.
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DNAinfo/Gwynne Hogan

WILLIAMSBURG — The city's Department of Transportation will present ideas on ways to make Grand Street safer for pedestrians and cyclists this spring, following several deaths along the street and demand for upgrades.

The agency is currently finalizing plans and will bring the details of what they're calling a "safety action plan" in the next few months, said spokeswoman Gloria Chin after the death of Rafael Nieves, 85, on Jan. 9, the third death on Grand Street in less than a year's time.

Nieves was crushed by a box truck as he tried to cross Grand Street across from his home near the intersection of Lorimer Street. The truck driver left the scene after the collision, but Police were able to track him down. He won't likely face charges because he didn't know he hit Nieves.

After the death of 35-year-old Matthew von Ohlen, who was killed while cycling in a bike lane last July, friends of the deceased bartender and bike-enthusiast have been urging the city to make improvements to the street like protected bike lanes.

In November, they made a further call for safety upgrades, along with advocates at Transportation Alternatives, unveiling an idea for a Grand Street Peopleway, which would prioritize bikers, buses and pedestrians, with dedicated bus lanes, in part as a way to prepare for the L train shutdown in 2019.

Last week, Councilman Antonio Reynoso asked that all private vehicles be prohibited from using the street.

It wasn't immediately clear exactly when the DOT would present local Community Board 1 with the safety upgrades.