Transportation advocates call for change after another pedestrian fatality on 'Manhattan's Boulevard of Death'

Just before 5 a.m., police say a male in his 30s was crossing the street and was hit by a car that left the scene on Canal Street in Manhattan.  He was taken to Bellevue and later died. 

Ashley Mastronardi

Mar 7, 2024, 12:37 AM

Updated 42 days ago

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Transportation advocates have called Canal Street "Manhattan's Boulevard of Death," and on Wednesday it lived up to its name.  Just before 5 a.m., police say a male in his 30s was crossing the street and was hit by a car that left the scene.  He was taken to Bellevue and later died.  Pedestrians were rattled by the news.  
“I usually don’t wait for the crosswalk timer to go down, but here I really do pay attention and wait for all of the cars to stop because they have a habit of going really fast when people have to walk,” Harlem resident, Courtney McCall told News 12 New York. 
According to Transportation Alternatives, Wednesday's pedestrian fatality is the fourth on Canal Street in the past five years, with another pedestrian having suffered serious injuries.  At least four cyclists have also been seriously injured in that timeframe.  Emily Jacobi is the Manhattan organizer with Transportation Alternatives. 
“We have truck traffic, we have delivery traffic, we have car commuting traffic plowing through from the Holland Tunnel, from the West Side Highway, and from the Manhattan Bridge. We’re having highway like conditions in one of the most dense pedestrian use neighborhoods in the entire city,” Jacobi told News 12. 
Lower Manhattan Councilmember Christopher Marte tells News 12 the New York City Department of Transportation has been helming the Canal St Visioning Project to address pedestrian improvements for more than five years.  The DOT says it began outreach on the project in 2022. 
“I think they need to do more.  Maybe citywide deaths are down and close calls are down, but here on Canal Street, even if you’re on it for five minutes you know that this highway shouldn’t exist in the middle of a city,” Marte said. 
The DOT told News 12 in a statement: “Our thoughts are with the family and loved ones of the victim in this tragic crash. NYC DOT has been actively studying the corridor and looks forward to sharing safety recommendations with the community this year.”    Sources at the DOT also say through Vision Zero, they've worked to implement hundreds of street redesigns to help pedestrians and cyclists. As a result, they say the city saw the fewest pedestrian fatalities in 2023 since it began tracking them 113 years ago. 


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