By Eric Uhlfelder
A beloved senior citizen was run down while crossing Greenwich Avenue earlier this month.
Laraine Kleinman, 76, was leaving the Jefferson Market Garden on the east side of Greenwich Avenue crossing west across the angular avenue. She was struck by 2023 Chevy Suburban that was heading east along West 10th Street, attempting to turn north up Greenwich Avenue.
She was rushed to Bellevue with severe head trauma where she succumbed to her injuries the following day.
Several factors likely contributed to the accident. One, it was dusk; two, the vehicle is a massive automobile with a very large front end that creates severe blind spots for the driver that extend more than 10 feet beyond the front bumper; and three, because of the severe angle of the turn northward, turning up Greenwich Avenue from the west side demands extra caution by drivers.
What a 2023 Chevy Suburban looks like.
Though there is a traffic light at the intersection, parked cars on the west side of the Avenue makes it difficult to see any traffic heading south towards Sixth Avenue. Drivers must be constantly on alert to the growing number of delivery cycles and motor scooters which often ignore red lights, while paying attention to pedestrians that are crossing the street.
The increasing size and sight limitations of today’s SUVs are incompatible with a dense pedestrian-oriented environment. Yet, there is no movement to control their access in residential neighborhoods comprised of narrow side streets like the West Village.
In addition, the extensive touchscreen controls in new vehicles are a source of constant distraction to drivers, especially in dense urban environments. It is unknown at this time if the driver’s attention was diverted by this screen.
According to the NYPD Highway District’s Collision Investigation Squad, a 56-year-old woman was the driver that struck Kleinman. She remained at the scene of the accident and to date no charges have been brought against the driver.
Laraine is survived by her wife Robin Felsher, who along with partner, was also on the board of the Jefferson Market Garden.