An 8-month-old infant who was being pushed by his mother in a stroller was struck by a car late this morning in Astoria.
Navraj Jaru was killed around 10:15 a.m. on Astoria Boulevard between 92nd and 93rd Streets. An NYPD spokesperson told Gothamist that Raju was struck by a 44-year-old van driver who was backing out of a commercial driveway near 92-20 Astoria Boulevard. Raju was taken to Elmhurst Hospital with serious, life-threatening injuries and ultimately died there.
According to Paul Steely White, executive director of Transportation Alternatives, Raju was killed on a stretch of Astoria Boulevard that the Department of Transportation had previously flagged as a dangerous street in need of safety fixes.
"Unfortunately, this incident is not the only recent example that Vision Zero is way off course. We've seen an increase in fatalities across the board this year—what many of these tragedies have in common is that they're occurring on streets that the city has already identified as inherently dangerous." White said.
Streetsblog reported that the driver appeared to be drunk and unlicensed, but an NYPD spokesman was unable to confirm that when we called.
"Yes, the driver appeared to be drunk and unlicensed, but this is also an inherently dangerous street with no protected space for pedestrians or cyclists. This is the legacy of car-first design that is seen on so many New York City streets."
White emphasized that street safety measures like protected walking space may have prevented the tragedy, but these fixes can only be implemented if the Mayor approves additional funding.
"For two years in a row, the City Council has asked for funding, we've asked for funding, but the funding has not materialized," he said.
According to the NYPD, the driver remained on the scene and is currently in custody. Charges are pending.