Thomson Avenue in Long Island has been known for some time to be busy with students crossing to attend La Guardia Community College and Applied Communications High School. At the intersection of Thomson and 3rd Street, pupils meet with heavy traffic from vehicles heading to and from the Queensboro Bridge, as well as congestion from nearby ED Koch/59th Street Bridge.
The street with short traffic light duration has been a concern to the point that a petition about its safety was created last summer. A group of concerned students garnered 500 signatures to have the street made safer because of so many near misses for car accidents and pedestrian injuries in the past.
On March 11 a 16-year-old student at the High School was killed by a speeding minivan when it went across an approaching traffic lane and hopped a curb onto the sidewalk. The van was said to be doing over 35 mph when it crashed into a group of students waiting to cross Thomson Avenue, killing one and injuring 4.
While this is the first death from a crash at this particular spot in the past 10 years, one pedestrian was injured in 2011. There have been a number of similar incidents in other NYC areas, involving injured pedestrians from a vehicle projecting onto a sidewalk.
February alone saw several similar pedestrian fatalities starting with the death of an elderly man on 5th Ave, after being hit by an SUV that careened into Sax. Shortly after a woman was killed in Brooklyn Heights by a pickup truck when it drove up onto a sidewalk and pulverized her. A taxi jumped the curb after being involved in an accident in Manhattan killing a pedestrian.
Though there had been concern expressed from the students, their petition was sent to DOT who did nothing. Since the tragedy a spokesperson explained that new safety features are being considered at this spot, including sidewalk extensions.
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