Prospect Heights

[Press Release] PHNDC statement in response to death of Yvonne Sandiford

November 3, 2023

BROOKLYN — Yesterday evening, 79-year-old Yvonne Sandiford was killed crossing the street in Bed-Stuy as the result of being struck by car drivers in two consecutive hit-and-runs. This is the second horrific death of a pedestrian in Brooklyn due to traffic violence in as many weeks. In response, the Prospect Heights Neighborhood Development chair Gib Veconi has issued the following statement:

“It is heartbreaking to see these two incredibly tragic deaths in Brooklyn occur so close together. This truly illustrates the need for immediate and aggressive action to improve the safety of our City streets. It should not take a tragedy for street safety measures to be implemented. It is the responsibility of the Mayor and City Hall to take proactive action to prevent future deaths from occurring.”

It is well-documented that seniors face increased risk of being killed or seriously injured due to traffic violence. A 2022 DOT report found that while seniors make up less than 15% of New York City’s population, they represent over 45% of pedestrian fatalities, and are more likely to be struck close to home. Advocates like AARP are supportive of traffic calming features to address this issue.

The intersection where Yvonne Sandiford was killed had no pedestrian safety features, such as curb extensions or daylighting. PHNDC has continuously been calling on City Hall to complete the Underhill Avenue redesign in Prospect Heights, which includes these measures at many of the street’s intersections, yet has faced unnecessary and arbitrary delays. The number of Prospect Heights residents over 60 increased by 83% between 2010 and 2021, adding to the urgent need for these improvements.

“We call on Mayor Adams to prioritize the street safety improvements DOT has proposed for neighborhoods throughout the city and speed up their implementation,” added Veconi.

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