Fatal Crash on Upper Amsterdam Avenue, Where Community Board 9 Has Stonewalled Safety Redesign for Years, Could Have Been Prevented

Statement of Senior Organizer Erwin Figueroa in response to a fatal crash on Amsterdam Avenue in Upper Manhattan in which 26-year-old Erica Imbasciani was struck and killed by a reckless driver:
Joseph Cutrufo -
(646) 873-6027

“On Friday evening, 26-year-old Erica Imbasciani was struck and killed by a reckless and impaired driver at 141st Street and Amsterdam Avenue. This marks at least the 43rd person killed on the streets of New York City in 2019 -- a 20 percent increase over the number of fatalities at the same point in 2018.

Erica was killed on a stretch of Amsterdam Avenue where local residents and safe streets advocates have demanded a redesign that puts safety ahead of driver convenience. But Community Board 9 has stood squarely in the way of making this street safer since doing so was first proposed two years ago. While Council Member Mark Levine has long supported the redesign, Mayor de Blasio has still refused to act. 

This busy corridor runs through dense commercial and residential neighborhoods, but its wide span encourages drivers to speed. Amsterdam Avenue below 110th Street has been redesigned with pedestrian safety enhancements and protected bike lanes. Uptown communities like Hamilton Heights, where this crash took place, deserve the same safety treatments.

Upper Amsterdam Avenue leaves no room for error. Although reckless driving was a factor in this particular crash, safe street designs can mitigate bad driver decisions. That’s why Mayor de Blasio must instruct the Department of Transportation to redesign this street in a way that puts safety first.  We’re not going to eliminate traffic deaths in New York City if we continue to let drivers steer Vision Zero."