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Group Advocates to Make Peekskill Streets Safer for Pedestrians
Pedestrians are being struck by vehicles at an alarming rate in the City of Peekskill.
Since Oct. 7, there have been six incidents at different intersections throughout the city where individuals have been severely hurt or escaped serious injury by reckless, distracted or hit-and-run motorists, according to Peekskill Walks, a resident-led group working since 2019 to make Peekskill’s streets safer.
“There should be no serious injuries on our streets and that is achievable,” said Conor Greene, a co-founder of Peekskill Walks and a former mayoral candidate. “We like to say we’re a friendly town, but our streets are not friendly. This is a public safety issue. This is not just a quality-of-life issue.”
According to Greene, the first of the six most recent mishaps occurred on Oct. 7 when a person was hit at the intersection of Nelson Ave. and Paulding St., the site of another serious pedestrian injury in 2020.
On Oct. 27, a pedestrian was struck at the intersection of South St. and Union Ave. That same day, the driver of a large truck drove onto a sidewalk at the corner of Broad and Main St near the Central Firehouse, hitting a person standing on the corner and destroying a signal pole.
On Halloween night, two people were crossing Lincoln Terrace at dimly lit Broad St. when a driver turned left and hit one of them. The driver was ticketed by police for failure to yield.
A hit and run accident with injuries took place Nov. 1 at Highland Dr. and Division St. when a car and scooter collided, while on Nov. 2, a single mother was hospitalized with serious injuries after being hit while attempting to cross Albany Post Rd. at Welcher Ave.
“Not everyone owns a car. People need to be able to cross every intersection safely,” Greene said. “You’re more likely in Peekskill to get hit by a car than be the victim of a crime. If we had six residents getting assaulted on our streets, the city would take action. We’re probably fortunate that we haven’t had more people killed on our streets (in accidents), but we’ve had many incidents that have been life altering.”
The recent accidents have caught the attention of some members of the Peekskill Common Council, which discussed the dangers conditions at last week’s meeting.
“I do believe the number of pedestrian accidents we had is serious,” Councilman Dwight Douglas remarked.
Councilman Brian Fassett asked his colleagues to consider establishing a working group to review the growing trend of pedestrian accidents, while City Manager Matthew Alexander said he would be asking the police chief to prioritize intersections that need special attention.
Deputy Mayor Patricia Riley said motorists passing school buses was also a problem that needed to be addressed.
“That makes me insane. We have to crack down on this,” Riley said. “A red light no matter where you go in the world means stop. It’s something we really need to look into.”
Greene said it’s impossible for police to be at every corner, but suggested Peekskill consider investing in street light cameras to catch drivers speeding and running red lights and stop signs.
“Drivers need to know they can’t speed through Peekskill and get away with it,” he said. “Drivers need to be held accountable. There really is a bad culture of dangerous and reckless driving on our streets. Speeding and running stop lights has become so commonplace.”
Greene said he is confident the council is taking the issue seriously and will take steps to make streets safer.
“They’re recognizing there is a problem,” he said. “This is an issue that requires planning and engineering and DPW to be involved. This has to be a priority.”
Rick has more than 40 years’ experience covering local news in Westchester and Putnam counties, running the gamut from politics and crime to sports and human interest. He has been an editor at Examiner Media since 2012. Read more from Rick’s editor-author bio here. Read Rick’s work here: https://www.theexaminernews.com/author/pezzullo_rick-writer/