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Cyclist Death Caused by Bad Design at Hudson River Greenway Crossing: Suit

 Olga Cook, 30, was fatally struck at the intersection of Chambers and West streets on June 11 last year.
Olga Cook, 30, was fatally struck at the intersection of Chambers and West streets on June 11 last year.
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Courtesy of Daniel Flanzig

TRIBECA — Officials failed to address traffic safety issues at an intersection where a cyclist was killed a year ago — despite the fact they knew the crossing was “hazardous,” a new lawsuit charges.

Olga Cook, 30, was bicycling on the Hudson River Greenway at the intersection of Chambers Street and West Street on June 11 last year when she was fatally struck by a driver making a right turn off the West Side Highway.

Her husband, Travis Maclean, filed a suit against Hudson River Park Trust in Manhattan Supreme Court on Thursday claiming the collision resulted from a “lack of proper design, signage, as well as negligent construction, design, installation and maintenance of the roadway and traffic control device” at the intersection.

The Trust — a city-state partnership that manages the 4-mile Hudson River Park — knew that 17 other crashes had taken place at the intersection, but didn't address “an imminent, dangerous, hazardous and perilous accident situation,” the suit claims.

Motor-vehicle collision data compiled by the city shows 16 cyclists were injured at the crossing from Aug. 7, 2012, through Oct. 20, 2016. Cook's was the only cyclist death recorded at the site.

A spokesman for the Hudson River Park Trust previously told DNAinfo New York that traffic lights along the Greenway are under the city DOT's jurisdiction, while the road and bikeway itself are under the jurisdiction of the state DOT.

The suit, which is seeking unspecified damages, is one of several Maclean filed following his wife's death, his attorney Daniel Flanzig said Friday.

In May, Maclean filed a similar suit in Manhattan Supreme Court against defendants including the city Department of Transportation, and at the end of January he hit the state Department of Transportation with a suit filed in the state Court of Claims, records show.

Before June 11, 2016, vehicles traveling southbound at the Chambers Street intersection were able to make right turns while cyclists had the green light, a city DOT spokesman said Friday.

After Cook's death, the city DOT met with elected officials, the NYPD and Community Board 1 to discuss possible safety improvements at the intersection, and in November the department changed signal timing at the crossing to prevent southbound drivers from turning right while cyclists had the green light, the spokesman said.

The department also updated the bike lane and crosswalk markings, installed several bollards and converted the southbound right lane to a right-turn-only lane, he added. He deferred an inquiry about Maclean's lawsuit to the city's Law Department, which didn't immediately respond to a request for comment Friday.

Nevertheless, Flanzig noted that it "wasn’t until Olga’s death that the city stepped in to make the corrections.”

Maclean's most recent suit claims the Trust owned and maintained the crossing, as well as its "traffic control devices" at the time of the crash.

A spokesman for the Trust stated again Friday that the crash that killed Cook didn't occur within the boundaries of Hudson River Park.

"We are very sorry for the loss, but this incident did not take place on or adjacent to park property," the spokesman wrote in an email.

The state DOT didn't respond to requests for comment Friday.