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Another 3rd Avenue Fatality

In this clip, Aaron Naparstek of Streetsblog, standing at the intersection of Third Avenue and Baltic Street in Brooklyn where four year old James Nyprie Rice was killed in a crosswalk while walking with his aunt talks candidly about long delayed safety improvements for the area.

<br> <p><font size="3" face="Times New Roman"><i>Aaron Naparstek:</i> [00:02] So you know the way that the police handle these pedestrian fatalities really needs to change because they basically… fundamentally they didn’t really investigate the driver. They didn’t look at how fast he was going or if he was driving recklessly, or he had a record of bad driving. They basically just wrote the guy a summons and then they sort of investigated one of the victims to see if she was, you know, listening to her iPod as she crossed the street. There’s a blame the victim mentality right now with these pedestrian fatalities.</font></p> <p> <br></p> <p><font size="3" face="Times New Roman"></font></p> <p><font size="3" face="Times New Roman">[pause]</font> <br></p> <p><font size="3" face="Times New Roman"><i>Aaron Naparstek:</i> [00:35] The boy was being picked up from day-care, right up the street and… and they… they crossed at this intersection and they were about three-quarters of the way across the crosswalk, they were crossing legally with the right-of-way, with the pedestrian signal telling them go ahead, when a large yellow Hummer SUV took a fast and hard right turn off of 3<sup>rd</sup> Avenue onto Baltic Street and just wiped out the boy and his aunt in the crosswalk. Just ran them over. The woman, the young woman was hurt and the boy was killed. </font></p> <p> <br></p> <p><font size="3" face="Times New Roman"></font></p> <p><font size="3" face="Times New Roman">[pause]</font> <br></p> <p><font size="3" face="Times New Roman"><i>Aaron Naparstek:</i> [01:19] This particular intersection, Baltic and 3<sup>rd</sup> Avenue, has a traffic calming recommendation on it and the very pedestrian safety measures that were recommended for this intersection are the kinds of pedestrian safety measures that would most likely prevent the type of crash that killed four year old James. The Downtown Brooklyn Traffic Calming Plan recommends what’s called a raised crosswalk and a set of neck downs for these corners. And those two traffic calming measures do two things. First they make the pedestrian more visible to vehicles that are making turns. That’s what the raised crosswalk does. The raised crosswalk also forces vehicles to take slower turns and to go slower into the crosswalk because it’s raised, it’s a little bump. The neck downs do the same thing. The neck downs sort of extend the corners towards each other, so that first of all it’s a shorter walk across the street for the pedestrians. And second of all, a vehicle can’t just go take a screaming fast right turn into the intersection like this. This SUV driver probably did. In 2004 these two little boys were killed in almost exactly the same circumstances on 3<sup>rd</sup> Avenue and 9<sup>th</sup> Street by a truck making a hard right turn into a crosswalk, the boys stepped off the curb, they had the right-of-way, they had the green light, but they were just sort of run over by a right turning truck. So in 2004 after the deaths of these two little boys there was a big uproar and the Department of Transportation Commissioner, Iris Weinshall, she personally said that DOT was going to accelerate the Downtown Brooklyn Traffic Calming Plan, that a bunch of neck downs were going to be built at, on 3<sup>rd</sup> Avenue, and that four million dollars was being allocated to do this. She said that these traffic calming improvements would be done by end of fiscal year 2006. Well, they haven’t been done, they haven’t even been started. The Downtown Brooklyn Traffic Calming planning process started in 1997. It started ten years ago, okay. So we’ve got a plan, the plan has been available for three or four years now. We’ve got a promise from DOT that pedestrian safety measures would be done on 3<sup>rd</sup> Avenue by the end of 2006. And it’s just… it’s not happening. It’s clearly not a priority for the city and that’s unacceptable, and when kids are being run over for just crossing the street. Yeah, I mean for the Downtown Brooklyn Traffic Calming Plan to actually become, you know, traffic calming on the street, for it to become reality, the Mayor has to say something. You know Mayor Michael Bloomberg has to say something about this. He has to express some sort of, you know, response to the fact that, you know, kids are just being crushed by trucks, you know, walking in the crosswalk in his city. And, you know, this stuff is happening in New York City and it’s just like it just doesn’t exist. It’s not on the radar at City Hall. There’s something very broken in the city bureaucracy right now that does not allow these kinds of pedestrian safety measures to happen quickly and cheaply and efficiently, and in the places where they’re needed. </font> <br> </p> http://transcriptdivas.ca/transcription-canada/
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