BY THE VILLAGE SUN | An elderly man was fatally struck by a city vehicle at Canal and Elizabeth Sts. on Saturday around 6:30 a.m., police said.
Responding to a 911 call, officers found the victim, 90, lying in the street with trauma to the body. E.M.S. medics transported him to Bellevue Hospital where he was pronounced dead.
According to a preliminary police investigation, a 61-year-old Department of Sanitation worker was driving east on Canal St. in a 2013 Ford Escape — a compact S.U.V. — approaching Elizabeth St., when he struck the 90-year-old trying to cross Canal from south to north.
The driver remained at the scene and was not charged. The investigation is ongoing.
A police spokesperson confirmed the driver is a Sanitation employee.
“We are cooperating with the N.Y.P.D. in their investigation,” the department said in a statement to NBC News. “Additionally, the Department of Sanitation is conducting its own internal investigation.”
“As of right now, it’s believed the vehicle had the light and the pedestrian was crossing against [the light],” the police spokesperson said.
Police have the victim’s name but, following usual protocol, are not releasing it publicly until they notify his family first.
a 90 year old has no way to completely crossing Canal Street at Elizabeth Street within the light right now. With 25 seconds to cross a 6 lane street with no pedestrian island in the middle. Canal Street is designed to encourage drivers to speed up their vehicles. Saturday morning, at 6:30AM, before the sun rises, before all day traffic, the driver was probably speeding above the speed limit otherwise he would have seen a slow moving human being and would not have killed him. The city’s DOT can fix this intersection today by installing a pedestrian refuge island and curb extensions, shortening the time and distance it takes to cross the street and providing more pedestrian space on the oh-so-clogged sidewalks.
Working in SoHo, I bike down and walk across Canal Street nearly every day. There are intersections where drivers block the crosswalks during the entirety of the walk phase for 14 uninterrupted hours a day.
There are few streets that epitomize the city’s failure to prioritize safety better than Canal Street. Rather than ensuring that people can walk down the street without fear of being hit and killed, our city prioritizes gridlock, blocking the box, noise, and pollution to the benefit of no one, even drivers.
Everyone’s losing on Canal street right now.