Grand Concourse Still 'Big, Scary Street' Full of Risks for Pedestrians after Recent Death
By Mike Jaccarino and Rich Schapiro
The heartbroken sister of a 12-year-old Bronx girl killed at the same intersection as Russell Smith said Wednesday's tragedy should never have happened.
"This kid didn't need to die," fumed Charlene Richardson, whose little sister Virginia Verdee was mowed down in September 2005 by an off-duty cop. "Something should have changed after Virginia died."
"The Grand Concourse is the most dangerous place to cross, and you do so at your own risk," added Richardson, 39.
Virginia was walking home from church when she was struck and killed by Officer Michael Carlo's Jeep on the Grand Concourse at E. 183rd St. on Sept. 23, 2005. The bubbly sixth-grader had darted into the road at midblock.
Carlo, who passed a Breathalyzer test, was not arrested. Still, the Rev. Al Sharpton demanded a full investigation.
Virginia was the third pedestrian killed at the Grand Concourse and E. 183rd St. in the past 15 years, records show.
Transit advocacy group Transportation Alternatives ranked the intersection as the third-most dangerous in the Bronx and the 10th-most dangerous in the city.
Between 1995 and 2005, there were 71 pedestrian-related wrecks there, state Department of Transportation figures show.
The dangers on the Bronx artery have prompted some to give it a sinister moniker.
"It's like a Boulevard of Death," said Lisa Rodriguez, echoing the nickname of the notorious Queens Blvd.
Noah Budnick of Transportation Alternatives said the city should narrow the Grand Concourse's gaping lanes and install pedestrian head-start signals.
"The Grand Concourse is the Queens Blvd. of the Bronx," Budnick said. "It's a big, scary street, and it makes people feel like they're on the highway when they're driving."
The city Department of Transportation says the Grand Concourse is scheduled to get pedestrian countdown signals at nearly 50 intersections.
Submitted by kim on February 17, 2011 - 18:44. categories [ ]