Saturday, November 01, 2014

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Man Dies in Collision With Bus at Dangerous Brooklyn Intersection

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A man was killed in a crosswalk when police say he was struck by a turning bus, the third such fatality at the intersection of Palmetto Street and Myrtle and Wyckoff Avenues since 2009. NY1's Jose Martinez filed this report.

It's where Palmetto Street meets Myrtle and Wyckoff Avenues.

"Because you have to look that way, that way, all different ways," said one woman.

The streets create a noisy and confusing intersection of crosswalks, traffic and enormous vehicles, and where a pedestrian once again this week had a deadly encounter with a city bus.

"What we've seen here again and again is this intersection is failing pedestrians. Pedestrians need to be safe in this intersection. That means MTA bus drivers need to be driving safer," said Caroline Samponaro, Deputy Director of Transportation Alternatives.

On Thursday, a man was killed in a crosswalk when police say he was struck by a bus turning onto Palmetto Street.

That is exactly what the city Department of Transportation hoped to avoid when it added the crosswalk and curb extensions and banned some turns at the intersection earlier this year.

That came on the heels of a 2009 fatality and one in January 2013, when 23-year-old Ella Bandes was killed by a bus while crossing the street.

"It brings it all back and just remembering that day and the horror of it. You know, it was our great hope that we would be able to help prevent this from ever happening again and it just feels like a big failure," said Judy Kottick, Bandes' mother.

Both the DOT and the MTA say they'll keep trying to make the intersection safer.

Transit officials immediately barred buses from turning onto Myrtle Avenue from Palmetto Street and have increased the monitoring of bus drivers, both supervised and undercover.

The numbers, however, don't lie.

In 2013, there were eight fatalities involving New York City Transit buses--6 pedestrians, 1 motorcyclist and a bicyclist--and so far this year, those numbers are exactly the same.

Safety advocates say more needs to be done to protect vulnerable pedestrians.

"Every time a bus and a pedestrian are in a moment of conflict, the bus will win," said Samponaro.

However, transit union leaders say the issue goes beyond blaming the bus driver, who wasn't charged.

"We've got to figure out a way to stop make it a competition for street space and make it more, you know, clearer delineations: this is for buses, this is for cars, this is for bicyclists," said JP Patafio of the Transport Workers Union, Local 100.

And this, they all hope, will eventually be for safe passage.

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