City Studying Changes to West St. Intersection, Site of Cyclist Fatality

A memorial to Olga Evgleska Cook, at the intersection of West and Chambers streets, where the cyclist was struck and killed by a turning truck. Photo: Carl Glassman/Tribeca Trib

Jul. 09, 2016

The death of a cyclist last month, struck by a pickup truck at West and Chambers, is prompting the city to consider changes to what is now a dangerous confluence of bikes, pedestrians and turning cars.

“DOT [Department of Transportation] is studying the area for safety enhancement, including a right turn lane and signal phasing upgrades,” a DOT spokesperson told the Trib in a statement. The spokesperson added that following the completion of the study this summer, the agency will “coordinate closely with local elected officials and the community regarding any possible changes.”

On June 11, around 7:50 p.m., Olga Evgleska Cook, 30, was riding south on the bike path along West Street when she was hit by a truck turning right onto Chambers Street. Both had a green light. The driver, who continued on into Battery Park City before stopping several blocks away, was arrested and charged with manslaughter, leaving the scene of an accident, failure to yield to a pedestrian, and driving while ability impaired.

Many say the intersection is especially dangerous because a single green light applies to everyone: pedestrians, bike riders and turning cars. In addition, it is the first intersection that cyclists encounter after a long stretch of the bikeway.

“This specific section of bikeway from Chambers Street to the Battery has become the most dangerous section of bikeway in the city,” Battery Park City cyclist Shelly Mossey wrote in a letter to the Trib and other local publications. “It is in complete chaos during rush hour, filled with runners, walkers, skateboarders, and strollers.”

Late last month, Community Board 1 passed a resolution calling on the city to install right-hand turn signals at all southbound intersections along West Street, between North Moore and Liberty.

Dep. Inspector Mark Iocco, commanding officer of the 1st Precinct, said the NYPD is working with the DOT to come up with “engineering recommendations” to make the intersection at West and Chambers safer. Cops are also stepping up enforcement at the intersection, he said.

“We’re aware of the incidents down there and we’ve written a ton of summonses,” Iocco said, “but it’s going to take more than summonses to fix it.”

Following are collision and violation statistics for the intersection of West and Chambers for the first half of this year, provided by Det. Rick Lee, a 1st Precinct community affairs officer.

Automobile collisions: 20

Injuries/Deaths: 2 injuries 1 fatal

Bicycle collisions: 1


Cell phones: 15

Disobey steady red signal: 37

Improper turn: 1

Not giving the right of way to pedestrian: 13

Safety belt: 5