Truck Driver Kills Cyclist at Notoriously Deadly Intersection in East New York

File photo: Dave Colon
File photo: Dave Colon

A Brooklyn man was struck and killed by a truck driver on Tuesday afternoon at a notoriously dangerous intersection in East New York, and became the second person to die at that location this year.

According to the NYPD the cyclist, identified as 43-year-old Jarrod Little, was killed at about 4:25 p.m. on Thursday when a truck driver heading south on Pennsylvania Avenue made a right turn from the street on to Linden Boulevard at the same time as Little was riding his e-bike south on Pennsylvania Avenue. The driver remained at the scene and was not arrested.

Little was the 31st person killed in 2022 while riding a bike, e-bike or other micromobility device according to Transportation Alternatives. His death raised the traffic death toll to 172 citywide for the year, and comes after July was the deadliest month for traffic fatalities since the city began Vision Zero in 2014. Compared to August 30 last year, there have been 2 more cyclist fatalities citywide and 13 fewer pedestrian deaths.

Transportation Alternatives criticized what they called city inaction both at the intersection where Little was killed—the same intersection where a woman was killed in a hit-and-run in March this year—and around the larger road environment in the neighborhood.

“This is the result of inequitable street design,” the organization wrote in a statement. “[T]he city has not made the 11-lane, 150-foot-wide Linden Boulevard or the 7-lane, 78-foot-wide Pennsylvania Avenue safe. Despite the known dangers, there are no turn-calming measures installed, no leading pedestrian intervals, and no bike lanes at the intersection.”

The organization also called the crash a symptom of disinvestment in City Council District 42, where there have been a combined 3,209 traffic injuries and deaths since 2020, more than any other Council district in the city. City Council Member Charles Barron, who represents the 42nd District and told Streetsblog in March that traffic violence was “at the top of my agenda,” agreed with TransAlt’s assessment that Linden and Pennsylvania should get urgent treatments matching their designations as DOT priority corridors.

“More needs to be done, especially if you designate this area a priority zone,” Barron said. “We’ve spoken to [DOT] in the past and we will definitely be speaking to them again and doing more than speaking. We’re going to put some pressure on, because this needs to stop, because accidents like this can be avoided.”

Barron got backup from Brooklyn Community Board 5 Transportation Committee Chairman Wilfredo Florentino, who asked the city to take a second look at every major artery in the neighborhood.

“Pennsylvania Avenue and Linden Boulevard are among the most dangerous corridors within not just Community Board 5 but the whole city,” he said. “DOT must look at the major corridors that run through our community as they are where we see the most fatalities. Our community is resolute about the need for a streets census, with real and implementable solutions.”

Linden Boulevard as a whole is more or less an at-grade, 150-foot-wide, 11-lane highway running through Brooklyn. The DOT began a corridor-wide safety project on the boulevard in 2015, one that focused on building pedestrian refuges, signalized left turns, updated street markings and upgraded bus stops between Kings Highway and 78th Street, but the road has remained a crash zone.

The last update to the corridor-length project is from 2018, promising more work to be done in 2019. Between January 2019 and July 2022, there have been 2,038 crashes on Linden between Kings Highway and 78th Street according to CrashMapper, or 1.5 per day. Of those, 689 crashes caused injuries to 44 cyclists, 93 pedestrians, 900 motorists and killed 2 cyclists, 5 pedestrians and 1 motorist. In the 42 months before that, between July 2015 and December 2018, there were 3,005 crashes on the same stretch of Linden, about 2.5 crashes per day, that injured 35 cyclists, 110 pedestrians and 1,167 motorists and killed 3 pedestrians and 4 motorists.

Pennsylvania Avenue is similarly monstrous, a 78-foot wide, 7-lane street, though the DOT has at least installed leading pedestrian intervals at every intersection between Pitkin Avenue and Hegeman Avenue, which is one block north of Hegeman.

According to the DOT, traffic deaths have dropped in District 42 through August 30 compared to the last two years, with 4 in 2022 compared to 10 deaths in 2020 and then 6 deaths through the same time last year. The agency also said that work on Linden Boulevard was continuing.

“Every loss of life on our streets is a preventable tragedy,” said agency spokesperson Vin Barone. “This administration has invested a historic $900 million toward redesigning our streets to support safe transit and bike infrastructure and additional pedestrian space—all with an explicit equity focus to ensure we are delivering this life-saving work to all corners of the city.”