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Deadly pedestrian accidents raise concerns about traffic safety in New York City

7 people killed after getting hit by cars, trucks in NYC in one week
7 people killed after getting hit by cars, trucks in NYC in one week 02:18

NEW YORK -- On the heels of Mayor Eric Adams' push for traffic safety, there have been multiple deadly accidents in recent days involving cars and pedestrians.

Just Friday afternoon, a deliveryman on an electric scooter was struck and killed turning onto 21st Street from Fourth Avenue after a van slammed into him. Police say it happened around 1:15 p.m.

Will Rogers told CBS2's Thalia Perez he was among a group of neighbors who rushed to the intersection to help.

"Everyone didn't know what to do. We were wondering whether we should do CPR. People were saying don't touch the guy," Rogers said.

Neighbors who live near 21st Street say they want to see more visible enforcement.

"I mean, it's pretty reckless. These e-bikes and even people who are on these electric bicycles, they really aren't obeying the traffic rules," neighbor Jonathan Schneider said.

"The intersection here is a bit crazy. I think that the corner is a bit blind and the bike lanes sometimes are a little not protected in certain areas," Rogers said.

Watch Alice Gainer's report

Pedestrian deaths raise concerns about NYC traffic safety 02:42

The pain is fresh for Jerry Kolenovic. It was only Wednesday his 16-year-old daughter, Alissa, was struck by a box truck and killed a block away from their home while on her way to school.

"She was very friendly girl. She had a lot of friends," Kolenovic told CBS2's Alice Gainer.

Police say the driver, Joseph Zillitto Jr., came to a stop at the intersection of Neill Avenue and made a left turn, striking her as she crossed. He's been charged with failure to yield and failure to use due care.

READ MORE: Police: 16-year-old Alissa Kolenovic struck by truck driver, killed while walking to school in the Bronx

The nonprofit Transportation Alternatives says about 67 people have been injured along that stretch in the last few years.

"So you think it's dangerous over here?" Gainer asked.

"Very dangerous. This area very dangerous," Kolenovic said.

The Kolenovic family thinks a traffic light should be installed there.

READ MORE: Police searching for private garbage truck after cyclist struck and killed in Brooklyn

Thursday morning around 8:30, a private garbage truck struck a bicyclist in Sunset Park, Brooklyn. Thirty-five-year-old Eric Salitsky was killed at 39th and Ninth Avenue. Police say they believe the driver didn't realize he hit someone. They were located a short time later and issued multiple summonses.

Salitsky was an architect. The firm he worked for said he was "a wonderful, talented colleague and a thoughtful person."

His super, who is also his neighbor, says he rode his bike a lot and was also married with a baby on the way.

"They're very nice people, and I really feel bad for them," they said.

On Monday, police say a drunk driver struck and killed a 21-year-old NYU student crossing the street in the East Village. The driver, 49-year-old Michael Deguzman, was charged with DWI and driving while ability impaired.

Earlier this week, the mayor announced a new traffic safety campaign aimed at stopping traffic violence and getting drivers to slow down. This follows a plan to redesign 1,000 intersections.

READ MORE: Dramatic new ad campaign aims to get drivers to slow down on city streets

He was asked about it again Friday.

"We're going to lean into what's called traffic stop stats because we need to monitor in real time and apply the resources where they're needed," Adams said.

He also says stepped-up enforcement is key.

"New York City is now in its fourth year of rising traffic violence. This is unprecedented," said Danny Harris, executive director of Transportation Alternatives.

Transportation Alternatives says so far this year, 75 people, including nine children, have been killed on New York City streets.

"We have to ensure that we're prioritizing our children over 6,500-pound SUVs," Harris said.

They say these deaths are preventable and want to see these safety plans fast-tracked so no more families have to lose a loved one to traffic violence.

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