The hit and run that left a 22-year-old Mayoral staffer brain dead has raised questions about traffic conditions on Flatbush Avenue’s northern end.
In a morbid coincidence, City Councilmember Letitia James (D, Fort Greene) had a meeting scheduled with the city’s Department of Transportation (DOT) regarding traffic mitigation measures on Flatbush Avenue Tuesday — two days after a speeding Acura barrelled into Erinn Phelan, a volunteerism coordinator with the Mayor’s office, and medical school student Alma Guerrero, 23, Phelan’s former college roommate from Brown University.
The 4:30 a.m. crash left Phelan brain dead, officials said. Guerrero, who Phelan reportedly pushed away from the Acura as they walked across Flatbush Avenue near Prospect Place, suffered a broken collarbone and was on the mend.
Police said that the Acura was found abandoned a few blocks away. As of this writing the owner of the car was taken into custody for questioning, but she blamed the accident on her sister, who had put herself in a psychiatric ward.
James said that the Sunday morning accident exemplifies the need for more traffic calming on Flatbush Avenue.
“It’s a speedway and it’s only going to get worse with the Atlantic Yards and the continued growth in Brooklyn,” explained James, who believes that the re-synchronization of traffic signals and more general lighting would bring some much needed relief. “We’re not looking for street furniture, we’re going to be pushing for combatting problems with speeding.”
James said that the DOT seemed “receptive” to the traffic light ideas she and the North Flatbush BID are proposing.
Their scheduled meeting with the DOT was in response to another horrific accident on Flatbush Avenue, one that took place two blocks further south.
Last November, 38-year-old Macy’s manager Dorothea Wallace was struck and killed as she crossed Flatbush Avenue near St. Mark’s Avenue at 5:30 a.m. She was reportedly on her way to a nearby Dunkin’ Donuts when she was struck by a 1999 Ford Expedition driven by a New York State Corrections officer with a suspended license.
Residents and local shopkeepers have routinely complained that cars speed down Flatbush Avenue during the late night and early morning hours. The proliferation of dollar vans in the area is also becoming a problem, they told James.
Cops from the 78th and 77th precincts said that they are stepping up traffic enforcement on Flatbush Avenue in light of Phelan’s accident and other complaints.
“We’re doing a lot more speeding enforcement,” Deputy Inspector John Argenziano, commanding officer of the 78th Precinct told members of the 78th Precinct Community Council Tuesday. “But people are not speeding in the day time. Regular traffic congestion keeps the speeding down. More people are speeding at night.”