Year ago our office represented the estate of Randolph Walker, who was run over and killed by a New York City Apple Tours bus in an accident that received much coverage in the press at the time. The circumstances were abhorrent and the company was effectively put out of business by the city after this accident. Just yesterday we were contacted by a community organization called CHEKPEDS (Clinton Hell’s Kitchen Coalition for Pedestrian Safety) and advised that a Pedestrian Memorial March will be held this Saturday, June 13, 2009, in memory of 6 pedestrians killed by careless drivers on Ninth Avenue.
The march starts at 2:00 P.M. and will proceed on the west side of Ninth Avenue from 45th to 36th Streets. The march will stop to install a memorial plaque for each victim at the location of each pedestrian’s accident: 2:00 P.M. at 45th Street for Randolph Walker and Nina Petrov, 2:40 P.M. at 41st Street for Douglas Dibble, 3:00 P.M. at 40th Street for Jane Doe, 3:20 P.M. at 38th Street for Fabiola Grande- Covod, and 3:40 P.M. at 37th Street for Sabina Paradi.
The march is sponsored by CHEKPEDS, Hells Kitchen Neighborhood Association and Transportation Alternatives. Assembly Member Richard N. Gottfried will speak at 45th Street and Paul Steely White, Executive Director of Transportation Alternatives will speak at 37th Street and Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer will speak at 38th Street. City Council Speaker Christine Quinns and State Senator Tom Duanes representatives will speak as well.
According to its website, CHEKPEDS was founded by residents and community leaders to reclaim 9th Avenue from the hellish Lincoln Tunnel traffic . The coalition is growing rapidly with Businesses, Institutions and Property Owners joining in to correct the dangerous conditions in the neighborhood : pedestrians risk their lives crossing the streets, children cannot safely walk to schools; residents cannot breathe or sleep; public transportation is ineffective; local stores experience slow and costly deliveries; personal safety is at risk.
The coalition works directly with Community Board 4, City agencies, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and elected officials to obtain crucial traffic relief and pedestrian safety measures. Some examples of their successes are the assignment of traffic agents at peak hours to prevent gridlock on 9th Avenue at 37th 38th, 42nd and 43rd; the re-opening of 39th Street to traffic; the removal of postal trucks from 9th Avenue , and new parking rules in the Clinton Special Districts to effect Traffic Calming.
CHEKPEDS reports that the New York City Department of Transportation has undertaken a transportation study of Clinton Hell’s Kitchen (from 29th to 55th Streets, Eight to 12th Avenues) with the participation of CHEKPEDS. The goals of the study are to improve pedestrian safety and quality of life for the residents while reducing traffic congestion and maintaining balanced access for all users of the streets.
Of particular concern to the coalition is the safety of child pedestrians who attend Holy Cross School, 332 West 43rd Street (between 8th and 9th Avenues). CHEKPEDS reports that Holy Cross School is the most dangerous school to walk to in Manhattan.