Renewed calls for sidewalk extensions after fatal crash

Josh Einiger reports from East Harlem.
November 13, 2013 8:34:01 PM PST
Under the Metro North tracks on upper Park Avenue, longtime resident Peggy Morales was still fuming over what happened to 65-year-old Olga Rivera who died Monday trying to cross this very street.

"It's incredibly frustrating. What happened two nights ago is a direct result of the fact that we don't have the things we need in order to keep our residents safe," said Peggy Morales, a resident.

Morales heads the public safety committee of Community Board 11.

She wants to avoid situations like that at 102nd and Park, where there's no place for a pedestrian to stand on a corner. It was equally blind for the driver of a BMW who didn't see the Eyewitness News crew until he'd already started to turn.

"It's taking your life into your own hands," Morales said.

For two years now, the Community Board says its requested sidewalk extensions at eight intersections along Park Avenue. But Eyewitness News has learned the Department of Transportation has rejected them citing, "Capital funding constraints, project capacity and city-wide priorities [which] preclude this project at this time."

"Once you have a tragedy like this it really elevates the issue and there has to be a response," said Matthew Washington, Community Board 11 President.

But Community Board 11 President Matthew Washington says when Rivera was mowed down in the midst of this wild collision, she became the third person to die on this stretch of Park Avenue just this year.

"She enjoyed life to the fullest," her daughter said.

Her daughter Vivian wonders how many more families will have to plan funerals, as early as she has.

"They need to fix it, before somebody else loses their loved one in that area. That's what they need to do," Vivian said.