Council Member Menin Calls for DOT to Redesign Deadly UES Intersections

NYPD officers investigate after cyclists were struck by a truck/Upper East Site
NYPD officers investigate after cyclist and pedestrian were struck by a truck/Upper East Site

MANHATTAN – Over the last two months, three Upper East Side intersections have become the scenes of horrific collisions that cut short the lives of four New Yorkers, including a Lenox Hill woman killed just blocks from her home. These tragedies were preventable, says Council Member Julie Menin, who is now calling on the Department of Transportation to review and redesign the deadly intersections in an effort to save lives.

“Walking down the street should not be a life or death situation,” Council Member Menin said Monday.

“We have the ability to redesign our infrastructure. Now let’s use it and make Vision Zero a reality.”

NYC City Council Member Julie Menin
Council Member Julie Menin speaks at news conference in January/Upper East Site

Vision Zero is the citywide effort to drive down traffic fatalities on New York City’s streets until there are zero deaths reported each year— which has been been less successful recently than in the past.

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Just last month, Mayor Eric Adams and DOT Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez announced a plan to ‘turbo-charge’ Vision Zero by working to redesign one thousand dangerous roadways across the five boroughs this year alone.

Mayor Eric Adams and DOT Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez announced new street safety plan in January
Mayor Eric Adams and DOT Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez announced new street safety plan in January/Michael Appleton,Mayoral Photography Office

Menin says three Upper East Side locations need to be on that list.

Just over a week ago, on January 24th, a 51-year-old Lenox Hill woman was struck and killed by the driver of an Audi making a left turn at the corner of East 76th Street and Third Avenue, police say. 

Cone remains at scene were woman was struck and killed by Audi making left turn/Upper East Site
Cone remains at scene were woman was struck and killed by Audi making left turn/Upper East Site

“Udeshi Sundeep should be teaching her kindergarten class today,” said Eric McClure, the Executive Director of Streets PAC, a street safety political action committee.

“But as a city, we failed to make it safe for her to do something as simple as crossing the street.”

Last December was especially deadly on the streets of the Upper East Side, with two men were killed on Christmas Eve by an out-of-control Baldor Foods box truck that jumped the curb at East 61st Street and Third Avenue, mowing down a delivery worker in the bike lane and a construction worker on the sidewalk. 

Taurino Rosendo Morales, 37, and Delfino Eduardo Maceda, 46, died after being run down by a box truck on Christmas Eve/Upper East Site, GoFundMe
Taurino Rosendo Morales, 37, and Delfino Eduardo Maceda, 46, died after being run down by a box truck on Christmas Eve/Upper East Site, GoFundMe

Less than two weeks earlier, another delivery worker was killed when he crashed his moped into a Fresh Direct truck illegally double-parked near the corner of First Avenue and East 76th Street.

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“We have been to too many heartbreaking vigils on the Upper East Side recently, mourning the deaths of New Yorkers killed in traffic violence,” said Danny Harris, Executive Director of Transportation Alternatives, a street safety advocacy group.

Police investigate deadly moped crash on First Avenue/Upper East Site
Police investigate deadly moped crash on First Avenue/Upper East Site

“We need to increase on-the-ground investment in Vision Zero, so we are slowing down drivers, protecting the most vulnerable on our streets, and preventing these crashes from happening in the first place.” 

Menin is also asking for the same review and redesign for two deadly intersections just south of the Upper East Side, but within her district, located at First Avenue at East 57th and East 58th Streets.

Large crowd of friends, family and neighbors honor fallen deliverista Salvador 'Chavita' Navarrete Flores/Upper East Site
Vigil for Salvador ‘Chavita’ Navarrete Flores, killed in crash on First Avenue near East 76th Street /Upper East Site

“We need to invest in our streets to make them safer for pedestrians, drivers and cyclists,” Menin said.

“The measures we currently have are not sufficient enough,” the Council Member added.

A spokesperson for DOT says they “appreciate the Council Member’s attention to this issue and look forward to reviewing her letter,” though, Upper East Site has learned an on-site walkthrough with Menin and Rodriguez is in the works.

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