NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A day after two people were killed and another was seriously injured after being struck by vehicles, two more pedestrians died in crashes early Sunday morning.
Just before 1:30 a.m., 45-year-old Pedro Santiago was riding his bike was hit by an MTA bus on West 125th Street near Lenox Avenue in Harlem and died, police said. He was rushed to Harlem Hospital Center, where he was pronounced dead.
About three hours later at West 96th Street and Broadway, 26-year-old Samantha Lee, who lived nearby, was clipped by the driver’s side mirror of a St. Luke’s ambulance, police said. After she fell face down on the street, she was struck again by a Dodge Charger, according to police. She was pronounced dead at the scene.
One woman who lives near the 96th Street and Broadway accident — the third fatality near that block in a week — told 1010 WINS’ Glenn Schuck the problem is simply that there are too many cars on the roads in the city.
“Perhaps something has to be done to control traffic,” she said. “This is a city for walkers. It’s not Los Angeles.”
CBS 2’s Sonia Moghe reported that police were issuing jaywalking tickets near at West 96th Street and Broadway on Sunday.
Ray, a doorman, who works on the block, said while drivers definitely need to slow down, pedestrians need to pay closer attention as well.
“I do feel that the pedestrians sometimes have to be a little more careful and be aware of their surroundings,” he said.
“People cross right in front of me when I have the light to go,” he added. “I would just say to anyone walking across the street: Be aware. Get your head out of your cellphones.”
Neighbors such as Ursula told WCBS 880’s Monica Miller that a new subway entrance in the middle of Broadway may be part of the problem.
“There’s problems with lights,” she said. “There’s problems with the way the embankment is.”
Ursula agreed that pedestrians need to be more cautious.
“I’ve said to many young people, ‘Watch out,’ and they can’t hear me because the earphones are on, and they can’t see because visually they’re looking at texts,” she said.
City Councilwoman Helen Rosenthal, who represents the Upper West Side, released a statement Sunday calling the three pedestrian fatalities in one week there “unthinkable.”
“The UWS stands together in sympathy with the families affected,” the Democrat said. “We’ve engaged the Mayor’s Office directly on this issue, and recommend that the West 96th Street corridor, including 97th Street and West End Avenue, be one of the Vision Zero study sites. But we also need concrete public safety measures implemented immediately — which includes additional and more visible signage for pedestrians and drivers alike.”
In Saturday’s accidents, a 68-year-old woman was struck and killed by a vehicle while trying to cross a street in Maspeth, Queens; a 69-year-old man was fatally struck by a sport utility vehicle in Bellaire, Queens; and a 63-year-old woman’s leg was reportedly severed after she was run over by a cement truck on the Upper East Side.
The spate of pedestrian deaths comes days after Mayor Bill de Blasio announced his “Vision Zero” initiative, in which a multiagency task force is being formed to develop strategies with the goal of eliminating deadly traffic accidents, especially those involving pedestrians.
De Blasio called the loss of life unacceptable.
“This is going to be a central part of our administration because the human loss is simply unacceptable,” the mayor said.
The initiative also involves using cameras to issue more speeding tickets, lowering speed limits in some areas and adding more police officers to the NYPD’s highway division.
Police have also placed barricades intended to prevent people from crossing the middle of some streets where there are no crosswalks, CBS 2’s Sonia Moghe reported.
Cops have also started to hand out tickets to jaywalkers, a tactic that some have questioned.
“I’m not sure having cops monitor this and so forth is really going to help because they’re not here right now and people do jaywalk,” Pat Kozu said.
City Comptroller Scott Stringer said that the city needs to take action, CBS 2’s Cindy Hsu reported.
“We can’t wait any longer. We should not be studying this any longer. We should be getting out there and being proactive and making it very clear to those driving cars, trucks, and ambulances you got to be careful. There’s human life out there,” Stringer said.
The Vision Zero plan could mean more tickets for pedestrian.
“The investigations we have conducted today indicate very frequently that pedestrian action contributes to the ultimate accident,” Police Commissioner Bratton said.
Upper West Side residents said that police need to focus more on people crossing the street.
“I come to this corner every morning driving. You have five, six cop cars giving out tickets for seat belts,” Damien Sweeney said, “Not one of them looking at people crossing the street.”
Samantha Lee, the woman killed on Sunday, was doing her medical residency at New York Columbia Presbyterian.
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