In 2013, Queens had the highest number of car accidents involving pedestrians in the city, and it appears the trend hasn’t cooled down during these first few weeks of 2014.
This week, six people were killed or injured on Queens streets, which elected officials said proves all too well how desperately traffic reforms are needed in Western Queens.
On Saturday, a hit-and-run driver smashed through a bus shelter at 7:30 p.m.
On Northern Boulevard in Woodside, a group of people was waiting for the bus when a white Mazda careered onto the sidewalk in front of a Chuck E. Cheese’s and Old Navy.
A 7-year-old girl along with two men and two women were hit by the car and were taken to Elmhurst Hospital with nonlife-threatening injuries.
Police officers found an abandoned car that matched the description of the vehicle involved in the accident a mile away at 61st Street and 38th Avenue.
A day after the accident Luis Andrade turned himself in to the police and is being charged with leaving the scene of an accident and another unspecified felony.
“Saturday’s hit-and-run crash at 48th Street and Northern Boulevard in Woodside was a serious crime,” Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, an advocate for traffic reforms in his district, said in a prepared statement. “The driver could have killed with that vehicle and this person must be prosecuted. Sadly, this is yet another example of reckless driving in our City that has already claimed too many lives and injured countless individuals. Such behavior cannot and will not be tolerated.”
On Monday, not too far from the accident in Woodside, Martha Tibillin-Guamug was run over by a bus near the intersections of Broadway, Roosevelt Avenue and 74th Street during a snow storm.
Tibillin-Guamug was killed but the bus driver stayed at the scene and was not being charged with any wrongdoing.
The intersection the Elmhurst resident was crossing is notoriously busy as it is near a major subway hub. Commuters often try to beat the light to catch their train.
The NYPD could not confirm if Tibillin-Guamug had been crossing against the light when she was struck by the turning bus.
Queens lawmakers have called on the Department of Transportation and the mayor many times to address the large number of accidents.
“We need to continue to concentrate on pedestrian safety,” Councilman Danny Dromm (D-Jackson Heights) said. “A few years ago, 37th Road and 74th Street used to be the most dangerous intersection in Jackson Heights. The Department of Transportation conducted a traffic study which I implemented that led to the creation of Diversity Plaza.
“Since its implementation, there have been no crashes at that site. In the same DOT study, the area around Roosevelt Avenue, Broadway and 74th Street was also analyzed. Many of the suggestions were implemented but more obviously needs to be done.”
Mayor de Blasio recently introduced the Vision Zero project, which seeks to eliminate the number of pedestrians who are killed by vehicles by the end of his first term.
Each year, a group of city agencies, including the DOT and NYPD, will select 50 corridors that they believe need traffic calming measures.
A list for 2014 has not been publicly released yet though Western Queens elected officials have held several press conferences asking for specific corridors to be addressed.