Whether due to ice, potholes or driving mistakes, traffic collisions in the 50th Precinct jumped to 291 incidents in January, bucking a citywide trend toward lower collision totals through much of 2014. The January stat was more than twice the 50th’s monthly average for the previous 12 months, according to Capt. John Orsellana, the precinct’s executive officer.
“Sometimes, that’s just the way it goes,” said Capt. Orsellana, who directs the precinct’s response to transportation concerns and collisions.
A community affairs spokeswoman for the 50th said that in addition to bad weather and icy roads, reasons for the spike in collisions could include the large number of construction projects touching roads in Riverdale, Kingsbridge, Kingsbridge Heights, Spuyten Duyvil and Marble Hill.
The spokeswoman added she was not yet aware whether collisions have increased or decreased since January, the latest month covered by the NYPD’s Motor Vehicle Collision Data Reports.
At a 50th Precinct Community Council meeting on March 12, Capt. Orsellana said that he expects collisions to stay above the monthly average “at least until spring.”
While many collisions in the area result in no more than damage to vehicles, they can also be deadly.
On Feb. 24, 38-year-old Daniel Cabrera died in a hit-and-run incident on Broadway near the intersection with West 225th Street. Stores and restaurants line the intersection, which is crowded with pedestrians but also overrun by speeding traffic.
Cases like that have lead pedestrians to demand fixes to signage and other regulations. At the March community council meeting, at least three residents asked whether funding could be secured through Vision Zero, Mayor Bill de Blasio’s initiative to reduce traffic-related deaths in the city to none.
According to the initiative’s website, “today in New York, approximately 4,000 New Yorkers are seriously injured and more than 250 are killed each year in traffic crashes… On average, vehicles seriously injure or kill a New Yorker every two hours.”