Cops: Don’t walk, seriously

McGuinness pedestrian death stokes calls to make the street safer
Tragic: Police lay a white sheet over the body of 30-year-old Nicole Detweiler, who was killed while crossing McGuinness Boulevard on Sunday evening.
John Beadle

Brooklyn cops are taking Mayor DeBlasio’s pledge to make the roads safer to heart — by ticketing jaywalkers.

Police handed out 97 jaywalking tickets in the borough during the first two months of this year, which is nearly five times the amount they gave out during the same period in 2013. The crackdown on pedestrians who cross against the light comes as the mayor is pushing his so-called “Vision Zero” package of car-slowing measures, aimed at reducing traffic deaths to zero by 2024, and officers in Park Slope are ramping up reckless-driving enforcement. In Greenpoint, officers have been staking out an intersection on McGuiness Boulevard where 32-year-old pedestrian Nicole Detweiller was killed by drivers in December, the blog Greenpointers reported, only instead of ticketing motorists for failure to yield as their counterparts in Park Slope have done, these cops reportedly targeted scofflaw walkers, which one resident says is ridiculous.

“It is the cars who are killing people, so why are the cops picking on the people who are walking?” asked Kristen Abate, who was strolling along McGuinness Boulevard on Monday. “Cops never focus on the drivers.”

Detweiller died when she stepped off into the crosswalk at the corner of McGuinness and Nassau Avenue and was hit twice, first by the driver of a BMW car, then by the motorist behind the wheel of a box truck, according to cops.

At the time, Assemblyman Joe Lentol (D–Greenpoint) called for the installation of red-light cameras, speed cameras, and physical measures to slow drivers. But one road safety activist and political insider said any action to restore law and order to the mean streets of Brooklyn is welcome.

“I think it’s a good level of police reaction,” said John Beadle, a member of the Kings County Democratic Committee, explaining that the presence of cops at crosswalks will motivate both drivers and pedestrians to follow the rules. “It is a win-win that tickets are being written to jaywalkers to increase safety and it a potential to slow down the traffic and make everyone think a bit more.”

Officers were also spotted staking out an intersection on Downtown’s Jay Street on March 7.

The tickets have not halted the automotive carnage just yet. On Sunday, 47-year-old Jorge Rios died when he drove his 2001 Suzuki motorcycle into the side of a 2007 Lexus sedan, according to police.

An NYPD spokeswoman declined to say why the department has begun the borough-wide ticketing blitz.

Reach reporter Danielle Furfaro at dfurfaro@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-2511. Follow her at twitter.com/DanielleFurfaro.

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