By Jessica Meditz
Two accidents in Glendale during the month of February have caused a stir in the tightly knit community. Shocking video of a 57-year-old man who was struck by two motorists while crossing the intersection at Cypress and Cooper Avenues went viral following the accident on Feb. 12.
Shortly thereafter two teenagers on a moped scooter were hospitalized after colliding with a vehicle that was turning onto Cooper Avenue from 88th Street. .
City Councilman Robert Holden held a press conference to address street safety concerns at Cypress and Cooper Avenues, where the man was struck, on Feb. 22.
DOT Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez along with other elected officials and safer street advocates were in attendance. The event was originally scheduled for the Friday prior to the crash at Cooper Avenue and 88th Street.
Holden said that the DOT has previously denied requests for a leading pedestrian interval at the notorious intersection and called for the DOT and NYPD to instate safety measures for pedestrians.
“Our request for an LPI for this very intersection was denied last June. I’m very hopeful that the new Commissioner will change things and take action to make our intersections safe,” Holden said.
“Crosswalks are the single most dangerous place for pedestrians in NYC to be. We need the DOT to make changes and we need enforcement from the NYPD,” he continued. “I was hit by a car when I was 8 years old and it’s not something anyone should have to go through. There’s a general sense of lawlessness on our streets.”
Assemblywoman Jenifer Rajkumar also expressed the hazardous thoroughfare, echoing Holden’s sentiment.
“We stand here in a danger zone. Over the past eight years at this very intersection, there were 153 reported crashes, which injured 56 motorists, 10 pedestrians and seven cyclists,” she said.
“We watched in horror as our neighbor was run over twice at this dangerous intersection,” she continued. “Would you believe that in the time between when we announced this press conference and today’s event, two more teens were critically injured in a crash. This has to stop.”
Under NYC Mayor Eric Adams’ administration, the DOT pledged to make safety improvements to 1,000 intersections this year.
Rodriguez assured elected officials and community members that “help is on the way,” and promised that changes would be made to the intersection within the next few days.
“New York City has to be the safest city for pedestrians and cyclists, he said.
“Traffic violence is a solvable crisis. Safety is a top priority for myself and Mayor Eric Adams.”
Days after the press conference, residents like Mollie Lauffer noticed the changes made to Cypress and Cooper Avenues, including an all pedestrian phase and delayed green signage.
“The new intersection at Cooper and Cypress is absolute bliss for anyone on foot, because all traffic stops so anyone can cross in any direction. Much less stressful for drivers as well,” she said.
Although pleased with the new measures, Lauffer called on the DOT to expand on the changes made to benefit the surrounding community.
“DOT has shown that they can act quickly, so why wait? Make streets safe everywhere, right now, instead of prioritizing the movement and storage of vehicles,” Lauffer said.
“Ridgewood is a great pilot neighborhood for these types of ‘scramble crossings’ with its diagonal grid and multi-street intersections. I’d love to see one at Myrtle and Forest next, and Cypress Hills/Central/Otto/64th Street.”
She added that Highland Park is the closest large park to the area, yet the walk there is “a nightmare” for pedestrians.
“It’s shameful that people can’t walk to the park without feeling scared simply because dangerous cars dominate the streets. We have zero protected bike lanes and zero open streets,” she said.
“When residents complain, it’s like these suggestions, these needs repeatedly go ignored by whoever’s making decisions. When is that going to change?”