Elderly pedestrian in critical condition after being hit by car in Greenpoint

mcguinness boulevard between norman and meserole avenues in Greenpoint
A 70-year-old pedestrian is in critical condition Tuesday after she was hit by a car while crossing McGuinness Boulevard between Norman and Meserole avenues.

A 75-year-old pedestrian is in critical condition after being struck by a driver on McGuinness Boulevard in Greenpoint on Monday night.

The woman was crossing McGuinness Boulevard midblock between Norman and Meserole avenues at about 7:30 pm when the 70-year-old driver in a 2021 Lincoln Corsair struck her in the four-lane road, according to the NYPD.

Emergency responders rushed the victim to NYC Health + Hospitals/Elmhurst, where she was reported to be in critical condition on Tuesday morning.

The NYPD Highway District’s Collision Squad is investigating the crash. 

“Extremely distressing to see another serious crash injuring a pedestrian on McGuinness,” wrote Assemblymember Emily Gallagher, who represents the neighborhood, on Twitter. “I’m thinking about the victim and continuing to fight for our improvements, which can’t come soon enough.”

McGuinness Boulevard is notoriously dangerous for pedestrians, and the neighborhood has long been fighting for safety improvements to the highway-like road, which stretches 1.5 miles from the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway at Meeker Avenue to the Pulaski Bridge. Last year, the city committed to a $39 million redesign of the street after local school teacher Matthew Jensen was killed in a hit-and-run while crossing the street.

Matthew Jensen's cousin John holds up Matthew's broken phone
Matthew Jensen’s cousin, John, holds up Matthew’s broken phone at a Make McGuinness Safe rally last year. Matthew was killed in a hit-and-run while crossing McGuinness Boulevard. File photo by Dean Moses

Dozens of crashes have injured pedestrians, cyclists, and drivers alike on McGuinness Boulevard since 2016, according to CrashMapper, and at least two people, including Jensen, have been killed. More than 600 people have left specific comments on the Department of Transportation’s feedback map, which they are using to gather ideas and suggestions for the McGuinness Boulevard redesign. More than 30 of those comments are clustered between Norman and Meserole avenues, the site of Monday night’s crash. 

Neighbors note on the map that crossing the street there is difficult due to speeding cars, poor visibility from the crosswalk, and short walk signals. One pedestrian notes that they prefer to cross at Norman Avenue, where there is more pedestrian traffic, because crossing the street further north feels dangerous.

“Drivers on McGuinness treat it as a highway, even though it cuts straight through our residential neighborhood,” one person noted about the intersection of McGuinness Boulevard and Norman Avenue. “They have blatantly ignored the speed limit after it was reduced, and they often run the light here.”

The city implemented a 25 mph speed limit on the wide road in 2014, months before the citywide speed limit was reduced from 30 mph. Last fall, ahead of the major work expected on the roadway later this year, DOT reduced the length of traffic light cycles on McGuinness Boulevard at night in a bid to reduce speeding by forcing drivers to slow and stop more often. Drivers traveling even five miles over the speed limit are significantly more likely to severely injure or kill a pedestrian in the event of a crash. Speeding also increases the chances of a crash, reducing slowing and stopping distances for motorists and giving both drivers and cyclists and pedestrians less time to see and react to each other.

mcguinness and norman avenue proposal
The Make McGuinness Safe Coalition has big ideas for the McGuinness Boulevard redesign — including adding bike lanes and traffic calming at the intersection of Norman Avenue, where a pedestrian was hit by a car and severely injured on Monday night. Make McGuinness Safe Coalition

Last year, Greenpointers formed the  Make McGuinness Safe Coalition to inform and motivate Greenpointers to action, and have proposed their own detailed ideas for the redesign, including, most importantly, a road diet, which would remove a lane of traffic in each direction, reducing the number of cars on the road and forcing drivers to slow down. Existing traffic lanes would be used instead for bike lanes and infrastructure like rain gardens and small seating areas. 

The public comment period for the Department of Transportation’s redesign closes on March 1, with construction expected to begin later this year.