By Jonathan Sperling
A Queens octogenarian was killed when a driver turning onto 251st Street in Little Neck struck her and a male companion, adding to the growing number of pedestrian and cyclist deaths in New York City this year.
Xui Pu Xi is one of more than 900 pedestrians citywide to have been injured or killed in car collisions in the last 28 days, according to the most recent NYPD data.
In Queens alone, 257 pedestrians have been injured in the last 28 days, marking a 14 percent increase over the 225 pedestrians injured during the same time period last year. Pedestrians have also been killed this year in Bayside, Elmhurst, Astoria, South Ozone Park and Hollis.
Xi was crossing the street near the intersection of 251st Street and 63rd Avenue when a 42-year-old driver attempted to make a left turn onto the street on Feb 5. Xi and an unidentified 84-year-old man were struck.
When police from the 111th Precinct arrived at the scene, they found the two victims with injuries and rushed Xi to North Shore University Hospital, where she was pronounced dead. The male victim was also taken to the hospital, where he is listed in stable condition with a leg injury, as of press time.
The driver of the vehicle stayed at the scene and has not been charged with a crime as of press time. The cause of the collision was not immediately clear, but an investigation by the NYPD Collision Investigation Squad is still ongoing.
Despite the increase in pedestrian deaths so far this year, Queens has made progress as part of the city’s Vision Zero initiatives to eliminate traffic deaths, the organization Transportation Alternatives said in December 2018.
TransAlt named the 43rd Avenue and Skillman Avenue Street Safety Improvement Project its “Vision Zero Project of the Year.”
Between 2012 and 2016, 283 people were injured in that corridor, including 61 pedestrians and 34 bicyclists, the organization reported. In 2017, delivery cyclist Gelacio Reyes was killed when he was struck by a car.
The safety plan features the installation of protected bike lanes and a comprehensive redesign of more than 2 miles of city streets. The redesign, approved by the city over the objection of the local community board, will narrow lanes, add pedestrian islands, shorten crossing distances by more than a third and fill a seven-mile protected gap in the bike lane network between Forest Hills and Midtown Manhattan.
TransAlt said the redesign could serve as a model for other perilous roadways in Queens.