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Van Bramer Pummels DOT and NYPD Following Another Pedestrian Death

Oct. 2, 2013 By Christian Murray

The Department of Transportation and the NYPD were slammed by elected officials in Woodside yesterday, at the location where a pedestrian was killed in a hit-and-run incident on Saturday.

Luis Bravo, a 19-year-old from Jackson Heights, was struck by a dark-colored sedan crossing Broadway near 58th Street on Sept. 28. The perpetrator’s vehicle fled the scene leaving Bravo on the road to die; authorities are still searching for the suspect.

Broadway has a reputation among local residents as being a dangerous street where motorists speed. “Broadway is like a racetrack or the autobahn,” said Ed Surmenian, who was surprised an incident like this had not happened before.

In response to resident complaints, Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer said that his office had reached out to the DOT and NYPD in March, 2012, and requested that they study the traffic flow along Broadway (between 69th and Northern Blvd). Van Bramer sought traffic calming measures and requested that they look at the timing of the lights.

“They wrote back and told us that everything was working just fine and no changes were necessary,” Van Bramer said.

A spokesman for the DOT confirmed Wednesday that a review was conducted last year. The spokesman said, “no changes were recommended” at the time, given the conditions.

However, the spokesman added, that “DOT will again review conditions on the Broadway corridor, including the intersection with 58th St., making use of the most recent data to assess signal timing and intersection controls, and will also look into the feasibility of other traffic calming measures here as well.”

State Sen. Mike Gianaris said that the DOT should pay more attention to what residents have to say since they know their streets best. It should not take a death, he said, for the DOT to take action.

In the last three months there have been at least five pedestrian collisions within Western Queens—four of which resulted in fatalities.

Van Bramer was critical of the NYPD for not arresting drivers who kill people as a result of being reckless or negligent. Unless a motorist is intoxicated or leaves the scene of the crash, prosecution is rare, Van Bramer said.

For instance, in March, a teenager was killed in Long Island City when the driver lost control when he bent down to pick up a milk carton. The driver plowed into several people on the sidewalk—killing a 16-year-old student.

The driver just got a ticket for driving without insurance.

“Is he sorry he did this? Of course,” Van Bramer said. “Did he want this to happen? No.”

“But should he just walk away uncharged? No. He killed someone and the victim’s family will never be the same,” Van Bramer said.

Citing NYPD data, Van Bramer said that during the first 8 months of 2013, 189 pedestrians were killed.  He said that only 20 people were charged.

Van Bramer said the laws in Albany need to be changed—and the police need to enforce them–so that those people who drive recklessly and kill people don’t just walk away.

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Anonymous 41st street resident

I yell at people who cross with their kids in traffic. 41st is one of the worst areas. A cop should always be posted there during morning rush hour.

Anonymous 41st street resident

I was standing on the sidewalk of 41st and Queens blvd the other day when the street was closed for paving. An elderly man decided he wanted to park on the already paved area. Since its a one way, he decided to turn his car around and head up backwards. He proceeded to go onto the sidewalk where he almost hit me and the pole. I hit his car with my bag to let him know I was there ( he was looking in his rear view mirrior the entire time). He then drove in reverse to park his car which took several attempts. . When I confronted him he said he doesn’t see so well. I told him to get rid of his license and stop driving. I called the police who then came 30 minutes later and said because they didn’t witness it there was nothing they could do. I asked if the could view the incident on the camera from CVS and they said they couldn’t do that. A few minutes later another car headed straight up 41st street (wrong way)!! To lull into the Phoenix apartments parking garage. There are never any police officers when you need them.


Queens Boulevard needs speed bumps at key locations, it truly does. Traffic will be backed up for miles and the Q60 will take even longer to show up than it already does, but at the very least it won’t hit idiots running like mad when they see the 7 train coming .

note…I’m being sarcastic.

Truth is getting on bikes eating the red lights on Queens Boulevard makes more sense than worrying about drivers and their speed. People need to cross on the green, pedestrians have no place walking in the middle or taking their sweet time while peering into the car looking for a fight.


Webly- if speed bumbs would slow traffic on Queens Boulevard, I’m all for it. Wherever it’s tempting to exceed the posted speed limit: 30 mph, usually, effforts should be made to make them drive more slowly. They need to share this space, realizing that QB is for pedestrians and bicyclists, too. There are times when drivers seem outnumbered by non-drivers; letting them abuse the lion’s share of our environment doesn’t make sense. Theoretically, if they have a ways to go, they should be on a major throughfare, away from these densly populated areas. Maybe we need more highways and expressways? Make drivers pay the bulk of the cost to build what’s needed. They need to realize that the tide is shifting.; there are better ways to get around than by car.


As a DRIVER I see so many pedestrians especially those hispanic wimmin pushing their kids yapping on the phone and not looking…..i’m amazed a few haven’t been killed or their kids hurt badly in the last few years….

Like I said how do we know Luis wasn’t drunk and texting and forget he was walking into the car?


The persons actually under siege are the men and women of the NYPD who are routinely mindlessly vilified as “racist” by the likes of the above commentator while doing yeomens work to maintain order in the streets, while at the same time our City Council representative, who four times voted against the interests of police officers, attacks the police for not doing enough to maintain order on the streets. It’s called being two-faced.


Stop QUESTION and frisk. So you would prefer that people of color be shot and killed? Just swell!

Keeping it real

@JOR Using Van Bramer’s votes against the racist stop and frisk policies of the NYPD in reference this tragedy is wrong. You are not a person of color, you have likely never been stopped and frisked, and your community is not under siege. So just stop.

Prayers for this young man and the family who last their child. Our community needs traffic calming now. Speed bumps, lights, cameras, action!


Very sad incident as well as the one in which the high school student was killed. The driver should have been charged with something as there was negligence. Prayers for both families.


Long time Sunnyside resident, I guess you don’t drive elsewhere in NY much.. That’s pretty much the scene everywhere, from blvds to highways to broadways, pretty much half of NY doesn’t know how to properly drive, and the other half gets bullied for going the speed limit on right lane..

Celtic Bark, you want to put speedbumps on Queens Blvd? I hope you are referring only to local streets, and not the major arteries like Queens Boulevard or Broadway. Civility of any society is easily judged by the height of their sidewalks and the number of speedbumps they have. Speed bumps only tell people “we got some stupid drivers who doesn’t know the local speed limits, and instead of catching, we have to slow down everyone else to a crawl, possible cause even more dangerous situations in some cases, and make it incredible difficult to clean up the streets after snow storms”.

I am all for speed bumps, the types that make noise and bother the driver, or for ones in small local streets because, yes, most of the NY drivers don’t give a damn about the speed limits in local streets, but they are not the solution for busy roadways.

Do you know how many times I had to yell and scream at idiots who stop right before the light on the right lane and get out of the car (park) during no-standing hours and get me and all those behind me in a very tough position? Since then I just make sure there are no cars if I am turning right on BLVD or if there is someone standing there without turn signal or just no indication he will move, I just move up to it with the center of two lanes so if the idiot really does stand there I can easily go around him. Not to mention the other idiots who try to turn from 2nd lane from right while I am right with my signal on and proceed to turn.. It is NY, nothing on the road is personal, just bunch of idiot dirtbags who doesn’t know how to drive/ride a bike/ride a motorcycle/motor vehicle..

This young gentleman may he rest in peace, I am surprised to see there were no cameras at all on b’way.


Interesting that our City Council representative calls for police officers to get tough with drivers while at the same time twice votes to enact a law to promote lawsuits against individual police officers for so called profiling with provisions for “paid advisors” to be compensated with taxpayer dollars. Is there any great surprise that police officers may be cautious about arresting individuals unless there is absolute certainty that the person in fact committed a crime?


Just saw a driver being harassed for letting pedestrians cross the street at 47th street and 43 ave by a phone waving mad man driver roaring like an animal in a weird accent, guess what would you expect from a pig but a grunt.

Long time Sunnyside resident

Just spend some time walking down queens blvd and u will see every traffic violation that there s to b seen. The only cops I ever see are the ones giving out tickets for expired meters. Almost every car s speeding . People change lanes without using their signals. They are talking or texting on their cell phones. They almost knock down pedestrians when they are making right or left hand turns. How many more people have to get killed or injured before DOT and NYPD do something about the boulevard of death?. Install more cameras and have cops watching the traffic. Give tickets to those breaking the law and make it safer for the rest of us NOW.


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