Tuesday evening, a small dog, Luigi, died on the West Promenade, hit by a thoughtless driver who never bothered to get out of his car. Private cars don’t belong there. No stop signs, no lights and no markings. What or who’s next as Public Safety continues failing to protect Roosevelt Island?
By David Stone
“He was the love of our lives,” Laura and Giovanni said in an email.
“Because of his age and the quiet atmosphere of the evening, we decided to let him go off leash for a five minute walk. He had stopped to smell the grass for a moment…”
It happened fast. A private car suddenly rushed down the East Promenade, too fast to brake for a small dog who happened to be in the way.
“I only had a second to turn and see the vehicle that was approaching. Luigi, at that same time, ran toward us. He was hit, and died of his injuries a couple of hours later in our arms.”
The small dog died but it’s worse
The driver rolled down his window only long enough to claim he had a permit for driving on the Promenade, something we’ve never heard of and doubt even exists. He then parked in the breezeway under Rivercross.
But if that was unkind or thoughtless, RIOC’s lackadaisical Public Safety Department was worse. When Laura and Giovanni contacted them, all they got was, “He should been on a leash.”
Blame the victim…?
Here’s a chilling thought from Luigi’s grieving owners: “Whether or not our Luigi deserved a five-minute freedom walk on a quiet night on a so called pedestrian promenade is beyond the point,” they reflected.
“The point is that it could have easily been a toddler and the outcome would have been the same.”
Children are not on leashes either, but PSD’s routine indifference, over many months of complaints, is unchanged.
Yet, this is the third reported accident involving cars in recent weeks. A month ago, two women were struck by cars in crosswalks on Main Street. It made no difference as PSD continued idling while more cars ran stop signs in broad daylight.
Days before this small dog died, Roosevelt Islanders flooded a Facebook page, Roosevelt Island Friends, with worries about reckless driving on Main Street and PSD’s failures at protecting pedestrians.
“I have been having health issues and I walk very slowly these days. Two weeks ago while I was crossing …Main Street, (public safety right there) a scooter almost ran me over. He only steered around me. As I continued crossing the Street a car did not stop. All of that happened in front of (a public safety officer) and she made no attempt to stop the culprits.”Facebook User
Another added, “People on RI love the beauty and the wonder of all that they have. It is NOT Disney World but a community which is beautiful but not safe, and one day, someone will see a member of their family on Main Street and it could be a parent or their child…. Please keep an eye on your children, the disabled and elderly because no one else who is responsible does!”
Still another: “I have witnessed other drivers go past the stop signs without stopping as well, and as a mom with children who walk alone to and from school, this worries me a bunch.”
All this came before Luigi, a small dog who should not have been at risk, was killed.
And one Facebook user stated the obvious, “It is urgent that traffic, scooters and bicycles get regulated in Roosevelt Island and that Public Safety enforces the rules.”
It’s as much a shame that anyone has to say this as it is that Public Safety does not agree. They have been negligent about hazards for pedestrians, children and dogs, ignoring complaints for years.
Because, over the last few years, we’ve said it here in every way we know how, we are leaving the last word to Luigi’s family:
“The RI promenade has become much less of a promenade in recent years, and much more of a motorized vehicle way. There are too many cars that have permits like the one that killed our little Luigi, and for no good reason. If a building doorman cannot walk a few blocks to his job, couldn’t he get a permit to park on Main Street, for example, instead of having permission to drive his car along the promenade?
“There are also too many food delivery scooters who want to avoid the stop and crossing signs on Main Street, and instead choose to speed along the promenade as if it was a highway. Then, there are plenty of residents who use motorized bikes and scooters and zig zag along the way trying to avoid walkers.
“This is a recipe for disaster and it need not be.
“The promenade should be for pedestrian use only, or non-motorized bikes and scooters. The mix does not work. People who choose to walk along a promenade will drop their guards in regards to motor vehicles. Like we did, they will assume that their kids and pets are safe from injury and death from cars on a pedestrian walkway.
“I hope that there will soon be regulations that will protect the residents of RI on this matter before what happened to our pet happens to a child.”
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