Motorist Kills Senior in District of Speed Cam Foe Marty Golden [Updated]

Update: The Home Reporter reports that the elderly victim of this crash has died.

Residents of Bay Ridge are again calling for measures to rein in reckless motorists after a Tuesday crash that sent at least one pedestrian to the hospital. The crash occurred in the district of State Senator Marty Golden, who has blocked a widely-supported speed camera program from being implemented in NYC.

The 68th Precinct wrote 63 speeding tickets in 2012. State Senator Marty Golden, whose district encompasses the precinct, is opposed to automated speed enforcement.

Published reports say the driver of a Cadillac Escalade struck an elderly woman while making a right turn from 82nd Street onto Fourth Avenue. Brooklyn Daily reports that the victim was declared likely to die.

NYPD and FDNY had few details. The NYPD public information office said the victim was an elderly Asian female, whose identity has not been released. An FDNY spokesperson told Streetsblog responders got the call at 10:39 a.m., and said two victims were transported. FDNY had no information on the condition of either victim. WNBC was the only media outlet we found with a report that two victims were struck.

The NYPD spokesperson said no summonses were issued, and that “no criminality is suspected.”

The Brooklyn Eagle reported that Council Member Vincent Gentile was at the scene:

Gentile said he was told that the victim was in “very bad shape” and that she had been rushed by ambulance to Lutheran Medical Center. “She apparently hit her head hard on the pavement when she was hit by the car,” Gentile said.

“The pedestrian went up in the air and came back down,” said one witness, to the Home Reporter. An NYPD spokesperson told the Brooklyn Daily that police “had no evidence that the motorist was speeding or breaking any other traffic laws,” though “[w]itnesses pointed out that the woman was already in the crosswalk when struck, and state law grants right of way to pedestrians over drivers when both have the light.”

The 68th Precinct, where the crash occurred, issued just 63 speeding citations in 2012 [PDF]. Locals are pushing for improved traffic enforcement, including the use of speed cameras, on Fourth Avenue.

A speed camera demonstration program was included in this session’s State Assembly budget proposal, but that effort was blocked in the Senate by Golden and Simcha Felder. Bronx Senator Jeff Klein has introduced a bill to bring speed cameras to NYC. However, Golden remains opposed to this street safety measure, which is endorsed by NYPD, DOT, Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance, Council Member Gentile, and a host of other city officials — not to mention Golden’s own constituents.

Maureen Landers, a street safety advocate who was hit by a motorist on Fourth Avenue in 2009, said police are quick to absolve drivers of responsibility for crashes in Bay Ridge. From the Home Reporter:

Told that the cops had said that speed did not appear to be a factor in this latest accident, Landers replied, “That’s what they say every time. If the woman was in the crosswalk with the light, how is speed not a problem?

“Cars speed up to make the light,” she went on, adding, “He’ll go home to his family while her family may have to bury her. They just washed the blood off the street. Another life could go down the drain and people will continue to drive the way they do through the neighborhood.”

The crash occurred outside Saint Anselm’s, a K-8 school. DOT wants to deploy speed cameras to slow traffic near schools, where motorists routinely disregard speed limits.

Responding to neighborhood concerns, DOT has proposed a slate of safety improvements for Fourth Avenue in Bay Ridge. The plans would reduce auto lanes from four to two along the corridor, and would add pedestrian islands and curb extensions, but do not include bike lanes.

“I’m really shaken,” said Liz Lauricella, another resident. “I’ve lived in this neighborhood for 13 years. Since I’ve been raising kids I’ve become more aware. It’s very dangerous to cross that intersection. Cars speed up to make the green light and turn before they see if there’s a pedestrian. It’s really terrifying.”

Lauricella told the Brooklyn Daily she has “frequently” observed the motorist involved in yesterday’s crash speeding to make a light. “I really would like drivers to be safe and be respectful of pedestrians,” Lauricella said. “We all live here.”