McGuinness pedestrian death stokes calls to make the street safer

McGuinness pedestrian death stokes calls to make the street safer
John Beadle

Two vehicles killed a woman trying to cross McGuinness Boulevard in Greenpoint on Sunday night and leaders and activists are ramping up the push to slow the busy road.

The woman, 32-year-old Nicole Detweiler of Bedford-Stuyvesant, stepped off into the crosswalk at 5:30 pm at the corner of Nassau Avenue and was hit twice, first by a BMW car, then by a box truck, cops said. First responders pronounced Detweiler, who a friend says was planning to marry her long-time boyfriend, dead at the scene. It was not long before local politicians were raising the call for traffic calming on the five-lane thoroughfare that feeds the Pulaski Bridge, which links Greenpoint to Queens.

“There is a lot of traffic coming off the bridge and it is all going fast,” said John Beadle, a member of the Kings County Democratic Committee.

The intersection has claimed the lives of three pedestrians and two cyclists since 1995, according to data from the road safety advocacy group Transportation Alternatives, including DJ Solang Raulston, who died biking on Nassau Avenue in 2009 when a truck sideswiped her. The group once called the intersection the most dangerous in Williamsburg and Greenpoint. Design suggestions vary, but the activists and leaders we spoke to agree something has to change.

“We need left-turn signals so that the people who are turning do not have to rush,” said Herman Dziegielewski, a friend of Detweiler’s who has been campaigning to make the road safer for more than a year, adding that he does not want to see the road become “a boulevard of death.”

“She was a beautiful person,” he said of his Detweiler.

Assemblyman Joe Lentol (D–Greenpoint) said left-turn lights should just be one in an arsenal of road safety tactics.

“Another heartbreaking accident at this deadly intersection calls for swift action in the new year under the new mayoral administration to install red light cameras, speed cameras, and new traffic calming measures,” said Lentol.

Incoming Mayor Bill DeBlasio, who will be sworn in at City Hall by former President Clinton on Wednesday, has pledged to bring traffic fatalities down to zero by 2024.

Reach reporter Danielle Furfaro at [email protected] or by calling (718) 260-2511. Follow her at twitter.com/DanielleFurfaro.