In January, 12-year-old Dashane Santana was struck and killed by a car as she crossed Delancey, at Clinton Street.
Santana was not the first pedestrian to perish on the busy road: Other walkers and many cyclists have died on Delancey. At the intersection of Delancey and Essex, for example, Transportation Alternatives tabulated 119 motor vehicle crashes with pedestrians and bicyclists between 1998 and 2008. And the New York Daily News , using Department of Transportation stats, noted in August that between 1998 and 2010, there were 523 motor vehicle accidents; 134 involved bicyclists and pedestrians, three resulting in death. The crossing yielded an additional 258 injuries resulting from motor vehicle accidents.
In response to these dangers, the Department of Transportation and electeds such as Sen. Daniel Squadron; Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver; Councilmember Margaret Chin; Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez; Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer; Assemblymember Brian Kavanagh; and Councilmember Rosie Mendez teamed up to figure out how to make Delancey less deadly.
What did they come up with?
The group decided to widen and shorten sidewalks at Delancey intersections while they look for longer-term solutions for the busy thoroughfare. Construction was set to start this week, but has been delayed until next on account of recent rains.
Specifically, the DOT is cutting down the Clinton Street crosswalk by 49 feet, Suffolk Street will be shortened from 44 to 36 feet. Fifteen of 19 crosswalks will feature similar reductions. They also plan on reopening Clinton Street bridge access to vehicles and bikes.
But is this enough? As detailed on The Lo-Down, many area residents have wondered: What even happened to the proposed pedestrian bridge, which had even been backed by Community Board 3? Indeed, when CB3 OKd guidelines for the Seward Park Development Project, part of that opinion reportedly included: “a pedestrian overpass should be built over Delancey Street.”
Susan Stetzer, CB3 District Manager, told the Voice that the board is very happy with the project, as it addresses “immediate safety issues” in a timely manner.
“The Seward Park guidelines are still a work in progress,” she said.
Paul Steely White, Transportation Alternatives executive director, told us: “These safety improvements are a long time coming.”
He too suggested, though, that there’s still work to be done.
“Calming traffic, increasing public space and improving Delancey Street for pedestrians, bicyclists and drivers are critical first steps in making this street safer.”
We’ll keep you in the loop with any updates.
UPDATE: Squadron had this to say: “This alone is not going to ensure that Delancey Street works as well or as safe as it needs to,” but “today the focus is really on getting these changes implemented quickly.”
Over the course of the next month, he said, the working group will make sure the project gets put into place and ID additional needs.
The DOT told us just now that these changes should be completed in July. We’re still waiting on a cost estimate.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on May 29, 2012