This time, it happened on their watch.
A collision at the intersection of Utica Avenue and Avenue D was witnessed by city officials who happened to be studying the dangerous intersection when the smash-up occurred.
The accident happend on Thursday, July 15, while representatives of the city’s Department of Transportation were assessing the corner, which has been a flashpoint for area residents and merchants for years.
But the city won’t say how witnessing an accident while studying an intersection might affect that study.
When contacted by us, a spokesperson for the Department of Transportation would only confim that staff had visited the intersection, where they counted turning vehicles.
The city’s long-overdue attention was secured by local activists who demanded action after a major accident at the intersection two weeks ago, in which one car rammed another at full speed, according to Community Board 17 Chairman Terry Hinds. In that accident, all three people in the two cars were injured, and both cars were towed from the scene, said Deputy Inspector Corey Pegues, the commanding officer of the 67th Precinct.
Thursday’s accident — which occurred after a double parked shot out into traffic — sent store owners running into the street.
“I heard a bang,” said Terrence LaPierre, the president of the Avenue D Merchants Association. “When I went outside, there was a car on the sidewalk by Tropical Paradise and another car on the street.”
As of July 11, there have been 25 accidents with 26 injuries this year at the intersection. Last year, there were 17 accidents with 10 injuries by July 11.
In March of this year, a two-car collision left one driver dead.
The intersection is a “death trap,” LaPierre contended, especially because bus stops at the corners put innocent bystanders in the line of fire, when speeding cars go out of control. In Thursday’s accident, he said, “Anyone standing right there would have been seriously injured. The merchants are fed up. The residents are fed up.”
CB17 has requested that the city study the intersection and come up with a way to calm traffic. Among the fixes suggested by LaPierre are a red light camera, moving the problem bus stops, and re-timing the traffic lights so they are not synchronized.
In the meantime, cops say they’ll do what they can by stepping up patrols along Utica Avenue.
“Enforcement is the precinct’s main tool for reducing injuries and accidents,” said Pegues. “We will continue enforcement, especially at that intersection.”