Dead cyclists mother fights on to fix McGuinness

The Brooklyn Paper

More than six months after the death of a pedestrian on McGuinness Boulevard, the victim’s mother has grown frustrated over the police’s handling of the case and the city’s slow response towards calming one of Brooklyn’s meanest streets.

Williamsburg resident Neil Chamberlain, 28, died on April 20, two days after he was struck by a hit-and-run driver while attempting to cross the six-lane mini-highway near Calyer Street in Greenpoint.

Cops have not found the driver who sideswiped her son — and McCulloch remains unsatisfied.

“[The police] don’t seem optimistic,” said McCulloch, a finance professor at Brandeis University. “They identified a car that had damage to it, it had a broken windshield and other damage you might expect if a car collided at some speed with a person, but they didn’t [arrest anyone].”

McCulloch also asked police for statistics about fatalities and accidents at McGuinness Boulevard intersections but she did not receive any responses, even though a traffic camera is affixed to a pole above the corner where her son died.

According to McCulloch, police told her that the traffic camera was not in operation. An NYPD spokeswoman did not return an e-mail about the accident.

A week after Chamberlain’s death, transportation advocates from Transportation Alternatives and Neighbors Allied for Good Growth declared McGuinness Boulevard one of Brooklyn’s deadliest streets — releasing a study showing that vehicles violated traffic laws on the strip every 17 seconds and failed to yield to pedestrians in crosswalks once every two minutes.

Two individuals, including Chamberlain, have died crossing McGuinness Boulevard since 2008, but several others have been injured or had their bicycles wrecked in collisions.

This summer, the Department of Transportation announced measures designed to slow traffic on the city’s speediest corridors, including installing countdown signals to let pedestrians know when to cross — but such changes have not been implemented along McGuinness.

McCulloch knows that new safety measures, whenever they will go into effect, will never bring her son back but may protect others in the neighborhood.

“Six months later, cars are still driving along this stretch at highway speeds, and the driver who ran Neil down and did not stop is still out on the street endangering the safety of others,” said McCulloch.

Reader Feedback

Dave from Clinton Hill says:
This is beyond sad that this woman has to suffer this way and not receive the attention from the NYPD that she deserves in solving this. Hit and run is a crime and the traffic camera "wasn't working"?? What's the point?
Nov. 26, 2010, 12:47 pm
T W from Brooklyn says:
Having a camera that is out of service offers a false sense of security. The authory/Athorities in charge should ensure cameras are operative or they should be removed.
Nov. 26, 2010, 1:55 pm
jimbo from Cobble Hill says:
Dead cyclist in the headline. Dead pedestrian in the copy. How about a little continuity from the copy editor/headline writer.
Nov. 27, 2010, 11:28 am
joe from Williamsburg says:
I'm a biker and pedestrian and driver. McGuinness sucks yes, but people just need to wait for their green to walk/bike. It's all too easy people. I see people rush to the center when one side is free of traffic where they wait in the center lane for the other side to clear up so they can gain 10 seconds. Chill out people and wait for your turn to cross.
Nov. 29, 2010, 9:20 am
penny from greenpoint says:
Joe,
I wait for the green. Turning cars will not yield if you are crossing with the light. I have had to run or stop short on more occasions than is reasonable. Vehicles are trying to catch the next light while making their turn onto McGuinness.
So, I am chilled out, I wait for my turn,and then...I run.
Nov. 29, 2010, 12:33 pm
placebo from greenpoint says:
"six-lane mini-highway" Actually, Its only 4 lanes at Calyer street, unless you're counting the space where people park there cars. it doesn't turn into 6 lanes until the polaski bridge 6 blocks later, which you can't ride your bike over.

I live around that area, drive my car there, and ride my bike there. It is a ridiculously dangerous place to ride your bike, and there is not a lot of room to maneuver. There's a bike lane on Leonard street 2 blocks over that you can ride down, which is a lot safer. Or take the bike route that is probably there to avoid mcguinness. If possible avoid at all costs. Not that it excuses the scumbag who hit and run the biker, i hope he/she gets caught.
Nov. 30, 2010, 9:43 am
Greg says:
He wasn't a cyclist - FIX THE HEADLINE
Nov. 30, 2010, 12:23 pm

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