Residents angry as McGuinness Speedway claims another life in Greenpoint

Residents angry as McGuinness Speedway claims another life in Greenpoint
Community Newspaper Group / Claire Glass

North Brooklyn’s deadliest road struck again last week, when a man was struck and killed as he tried to cross McGuinness Boulevard — an accident that has left residents outraged that the city has not done more to protect pedstrians.

Williamsburg resident Neil Chamberlain died from his injuries on April 20, two days after he was struck by a speeding car as he attempted to cross near Calyer Street at 3:50 am. Chamberlain was hit by a driver who fled without stopping.

The fatality is the first since the Dec. 13 death of cyclist Solange Raulston, who was hit as she turned onto McGuinness Boulevard from Nassau Avenue — and the second death has left Greenpoint residents boiling mad about the city’s slow pace in calming the neighborhood’s fastest lane.

“This is a death road!” said Ingke Schuldt, who crosses the street three times a day. “I tell you, I’ve had to find safety routes. I’m 71, I have to be vigilant when I’m walking here because I’ve truly never seen anything like this since the Autobahn in Germany.”

The speedway is so fast that even crossing guard Jaqueline Dedona is worried about her safety, after being hit on the corner of Norman Avenue and McGuinness this year.

“I tried to get out of the way when the guy was turning from Norman onto McGuinness, but I wasn’t fast enough so he hit me on my side,” said Dedona. “I was badly bruised but that’s it. I’m lucky I moved as quickly as I did. Drivers are always in a rush on and around McGuinness and these few blocks are the worst.”

The street is dangerous because it is book-ended by on and off ramps from the Brooklyn–Queens Expressway and the Pulaski Bridge, said Wiley Norvell of Transportation Alternatives, a bike advocacy group. Cars proceed between the two ramps in “highway mode” at speeds close to 60 miles an hour.

“I would rather go five blocks out of the way then cross McGuinness Boulevard to get a quart of milk,” said Norvell, who lives two blocks away from McGuinness.

Some community groups are documenting vehicle speeds and traffic patterns rather than waiting for the cops. Neighbors Allied for Good Growth reported that drivers ran red lights an average of 20 times in random 30-minute periods. And once every two minutes, a driver failed to yield the right of way to pedestrians.

“How many more tragedies have to happen before the precinct and the city implement traffic calming and enforcement measures?” asked Lacey Tauber, a member of the group.