ped 71 west end
Photo by a witness. Click to enlarge.

A 33-year-old woman was hit and knocked unconscious by an SUV driver at 71st Street and West End Avenue on Tuesday morning.

EMS was called at 7:49 a.m. and told the woman was unconscious, according to an FDNY spokesman.

She was taken to NY Cornell Hospital on 68th Street and York. It appeared to be “serious but non life threatening,” the spokesman said. An NYPD spokesman said the woman suffered a leg injury and fell on the back of her head but the injuries did not appear to be serious. He did not have information on her being unconscious.

The SUV was traveling westbound on 71st Street when the driver made a left to turn South on West End Avenue, according to the NYPD spokesman. The pedestrian was crossing the street in the intersection but the driver “didn’t see them,” the spokesman said. It’s not clear if the woman was crossing with the light, the spokesman said. (Presumably the pedestrian would have had the green light if the SUV did.) The SUV remained on scene and the crash remains under investigation.

The woman who took the photo above came upon the crash scene just afterwards.

“She was on her side on the street. Didn’t appear like she could get up but I didn’t want to stare.  The car had Jersey plates and was making a left turn when hit the pedestrian. That street is a decline and drivers pick up lots of speed before they make that turn. I live right there and cross it every day…very scary. (You may recall about a year ago a car was racing down west 71 and flipped over.). It is a very popular cross street for trucks and commuters.”

A bicyclist was also hit and injured on that block in 2015. The witness says she has tried to get the Department of Transportation, NYPD and Councilmember Helen Rosenthal to address the intersection, but has not had any luck.

NEWS | 36 comments | permalink
    1. MJ says:

      Contact LINDA Rosenthal. They WILL answer and WILL try to help. Helen is useless.

      • Johnny says:

        Did you mean, “they will NOT,” makes more sense, I add because I myself contact her office on issue of ped crossing in 79th & Columbus Ave, after seeing a few near miss or near hits on that confusing intersection. I only received an auto response, no follow up which is the usual for her office.

      • michael says:

        Useless is too kind

    2. Woody says:

      “(Presumably the pedestrian would have had the green light if the SUV did.)”

      This is a common mistake that pedestrians make. Traffic signals are for vehicles, not pedestrians. It’s possible for a vehicle to have a green light while the pedestrian signal is flashing Don’t Walk. That means the pedestrian shouldn’t even start crossing the street at that time so as to allow vehicles to make a turn. That is the only window during which a vehicle has the absolute right-of-way. That’s not my opinion; that’s the law. If you ask a cop, he’ll tell you that he has two ways of writing a ‘failure to yield to pedestrian’ ticket – whether the pedestrian had the walk signal or not.

      • Vince says:

        Hmmm I always thought right of way was not an absolute right, especially when a pedestrian was involved. Pedestrians have a legal obligation to obey all traffic signals and posted signs, but we’re not barbarians with absolute right of way. I also thought all “Don’t Walk” flashing signals were removed over a decade ago and replaced with pictograms. I must have jumped timelines.

      • Mark Moore says:

        A “flashing Don’t Walk” signal as you say is like a yellow light to a car, just a warning that the light’s about to change to a continuous Don’t Walk. You’re allowed to cross.

      • blah says:

        Yeah, they shouldn’t start crossing a street, but they are likely to have already started when it was walk and are partway across.

        You’re also wrong about the law (but just since September): “following a unanimous City Council vote on Wednesday. The Council approved a bill sponsored by Public Advocate Letitia James, which extends the right-of-way window for the duration of the flashing red hand.”

    3. Steven says:

      Apparently the City Council passed a law in September clarifying that pedestrians still have the right of way even when the red hand is flashing and the timer is counting down.

    4. Maryjane says:

      sounds like the “Zero Vision” initiative to me

    5. manhattan mark says:

      Woody, I’m sorry to inform you that the flashing time count-
      down is letting the pedestrian know how much time there is
      to cross WEA (I can do it in 3 to 5 seconds). The north/south
      lanes do not turn green till one second after the flashing timer finished. If you are walking, know your pace, if driving
      and turning remember the pedestrian has the right of way.ALWAYS LOOK BOTH WAYS!

      • Cato says:

        You’re all overlooking the fact that SUVs *always* have the right of way, whatever the circumstances, whatever the traffic lights. So-called “luxury” SUVs are not bound by any of the rules of the road, period.

        At least that’s the way it appears to someone who both walks and drives in the neighborhood.

    6. stuart says:

      Wouldn’t it have made more sense to take the woman to the closest hospital, which would have been the former Roosevelt-now Mt Sinai West?

      • Medic says:

        @stuart – Both hospitals are Level 1 trauma centers in NYC. Sounds like (from this report and EMS policy & procedures) she wasn’t unconscious and it wasn’t life threatening before transport. As such, patient has the right to choose an alternative destination as long as it is less than or equal to an additional ten minutes. (Or Mt Sinai could have been full…)

    7. Sam Koo says:

      We pray she recovers soon.
      71St toward WEA should have a few speed bumps. Not only downhill but cars go faster to make the light.
      I am pretty sure this was the case with this SUV.

    8. HB Katz says:

      The with the light left and right hand turns by cars and bicylists are major problem all over UWS 70’s and 80’s (particularly Amsterdam Ave. and 79th St. Corridor) along with bicyclists not adhering to lights, direction etc. VISION ZERO for pedestrians in this area is a farce and Community Board, Helen Rosenthal, de Blasio, NYPD are not addressing the situation

      • DenMark says:

        Don’t lump bikes with cars as a “major problem.” As a cyclist, if I make a turn a) I almost certainly won’t hit you as I have zero blind spots (+ slower/less mass = shorter braking, more maneuverable) and b) if somehow we cross paths, injuries are substantially less likely to be serious. Also likely we’ll both be hurt, so I have even more motivation to avoid a collision, while drivers can roll around with relative impunity from the physical consequences of a crash with pedestrians or cyclists. And no, I am not excusing reckless cycling… but it is unreasonable from any rationale standpoint to group cyclists and cars into the same group.

    9. Priscilla says:

      Isn’t there a school or day care center just east of West End on 71st? That’s another reason to have traffic calming measures on that street.

      I live a block away and often cross that intersection, there is no delay for cars to make turns while the light is red for pedestrians. It’s either green or red for both.

      Why is the driver still in the car, I wonder

      • Leon says:

        The driver was still in the car because they did the responsible thing and stuck around, and because it was cold out. Do you want them to be outside in the middle of the street breakdancing or doing magic tricks?

    10. Mark Moore says:

      A big ugly SUV from New Jersey! How awesome. Hopefully that person serves a nice prison sentence here in NY and then goes home and never comes back.

      • Cato says:

        What makes you think the driver is from New Jersey? Just because the vehicle has New Jersey plates?

        There are lots of New York residents who fraudulently register their cars out-of-state to save money on insurance and fees. All you need is a brother-in-law or uncle or good buddy who has a cousin who has a business in New Jersey. Or, of course, a second/vacation home.

        Next time you walk on West End Avenue, count the Jersey plates you’ll see. Of if you park in a garage, count the number of Jersey plates you see on cars with monthly stickers.

        But don’t assume that this driver was from Jersey just because his car has Jersey plates. It doesn’t work that way.

    11. Howard Freeman says:

      This street, 71st, was cited as heavily used at last Transportation Cmte by those looking to connect to the West Side Hwy. It’s all too likely that drivers zip down 71st and take a sharp left or right without being aware. Wonder if they should have a 4-way stoplight like 80th and Amsterdam.

    12. Bz says:

      Hmmm..A pedestrian was struck and what’s being debated here is whether or not she had the right of way..Jersey plates..The hospital she was taken to…Glad to see the focus is on the important issues.

      • Steven says:

        Does it ever get cold up there on the moral high ground?

        • Bz says:

          Don’t get your knickers in a knot. A woman was seriously injured..Something that kinda got lost on this thread.

          • Right On, Red! says:

            Yes, why not do something constructive, like offer up useless prayers to non-existent entities. It’s the least you could do. Really, the absolute least.

    13. Leon says:

      Any update on this, particularly the health of the woman who was hit?

    14. Leslie Rupert says:

      Why would they take her all the way to 68th and York when there is the hospital at 59 th St, 12 blocks away.
      That’s absurd!

      • West Sider says:

        We did ask FDNY this question, and the spokesman said that EMS sometimes decides based on the hospital’s current capacity and needs, as well as distance. WSR

      • B.B. says:

        EMS knows the status of emergency rooms in area; if one is packed you’ll be taken to another that is less busy.

        This of course depends upon nature of injury/illness. Someone having a major coronary/health event that requires immediate and prompt attention will be taken to the closest ER regardless.

      • Mark says:

        As above, we have another random poster that knows more than the medical personnel involved in the response.
        Speaking of absurd…