Woman hit, killed by bus in Flushing


| smosco@queenscourier.com |

2012-02-22_08-53-04_802-2

The relative calm of the morning commute was shattered as a Queens woman was struck and killed by a city bus while crossing one of the borough’s most dangerous intersections.

A Q44 bus was turning westbound onto Northern Boulevard from Union Street on Wednesday, February 22 when it fatally struck a female pedestrian, identified as 22-year-old Meilan Jin of Flushing. The bus operator was unaware someone was struck and continued driving for about four blocks. The bus was not in service at the time and was not carrying any passengers.

While she was struck by the MTA bus, investigators are still trying to determine if the victim was also struck by passenger vehicles.

The unidentified woman was pronounced dead at the scene.

The streets surrounding the intersection were jammed with stunned onlookers, many of whom weren’t surprised by the fatal accident.

Ebonee Simpson, a Flushing resident whose daily routine includes crossing at that same spot, said that she has seen many accidents at the intersection and her roommate was actually struck nearby.

“She lived, thankfully. This could have been any one of us. It’s so dangerous here,” she said. “I’ve jaywalked here, but now I’m not crossing until that walk sign pops up. That’s for sure.”

Simpson’s friend, Michael Clement, said that it might be time to alter the crossing and make it safer for pedestrians.

“I think the walk sign should be a lot longer here,” he said. “It’s so dangerous here, and it feels like there are only a few seconds to cross.”

According to CrashStat.org — a Transportation Alternatives project — the intersection at Northern Boulevard and Union Street is considered one of the most dangerous junctions for pedestrians in the city, with 92 accidents between 1995 and 2009.

In response to the incident, Transportation Alternatives spokesperson Michael Murphy said, “For pedestrians to finally feel safe at that notorious intersection, the police need to hold dangerous drivers accountable.”

Assemblymember Grace Meng that this incident highlights the need for a review of the intersection.

“A study compiled by Transportation Alternatives in October of last year revealed that the intersection of Union Street and Northern Boulevard is the most dangerous intersection for pedestrians in Queens,” said Meng. “This morning’s devastating and tragic incident should serve as a wake-up call to the Department of Transportation. Actions needs to be taken immediately by the department to protect the safety of the people of Queens.”

The Department of Transportation did not return requests for comment.

As firefighters washed the victim’s blood from the street with a blast from a fire hose, passerby Nola Dixon shook her head and contemplated leaving the city.

“I’ve seen too many awful incidents like this,” she said. “It is just so tragic. I’m praying for her and her family.”