Pedestrian killed on West Street at Canal

screengrab from Google Maps

Police reported that last Wednesday, Nov. 10, a resident of Vandam Street — Mablen Jones, 78 — was killed while crossing West Street at Canal at about 2:30 in the afternoon, in just about the spot that this woman is in when Google took this shot.

“Upon arrival, responding officers found her unconscious, lying on the ground, with trauma about the body. EMS responded to the location and transported the victim to Lenox Hill Hospital, where she was pronounced deceased.

“Further investigation by the NYPD Highway District’s Collision Investigation Squad determined that the vehicle, a 2017 SUV [a Toyota Tundra] operated by a 70-year-old male, was stopped at a traffic signal while occupying the right lane of West Street, just north of the west bound Canal Street intersection. When the traffic signal changed to green, the vehicle began to travel south and struck the pedestrian, who attempted to cross West Street from west to east in a portion of roadway with no crosswalks nor pedestrian signals. As a result, the vehicle struck the pedestrian, subsequently driving over her. The vehicle operator remained at the scene and was not injured. There are no arrests and the investigation remains ongoing.”

Streetsblog first reported on the accident, and added some statistics on car crashes on the highway: “According to Crash Mapper, there have been 38 reported crashes on West Street between the two Canal Street intersections since October, 2019, causing 15 injuries, including to one cyclist.

“Canal Street has been a source of outrage for advocates for years, and members of Manhattan Community Board 1’s Transportation Committee demanded last year that the Department of Transportation finally fix the busy, dangerous roadway that links the Holland Tunnel and the Manhattan Bridge — two major pieces of car infrastructure. Activists have asked DOT for traffic-calming measures such as expanded pedestrian space, an east-west protected bike lane on or near Canal Street, and dedicated bus lanes.”



  1. Just awful.

    Why did EMS take her from West Street and Canal all the way to Lenox Hill Hospital?

  2. So sad. Something has to give. Changes have to be made in this awful traffic area.

  3. Action is needed to fix the car centric intersections. You cant have walkable streets turn into highway crossings. It doesnt work. I have a car too and its time to prioritize pedestrians and cyclists

  4. Tragic and, sadly, predictable—that’s a particularly horrible area along a very bad stretch that should’ve been cleaned up years ago. It makes no sense that there are no crosswalks into the park between the northern side of Canal and Houston.

    Good news is that Google will be building a crosswalk around Charlton/Van Dam for the office it’s developing at 550 Washington and that the Hudson Square BID has a long-term plan (i.e. hopes and dreams) to build a bridge at Spring Street. (

    The crossing at Laight Street is also scary since cars can turn both ways and have a tendency to speed around those corners once freed from the tunnel mayhem. It’s a problem that the delayed light allowing pedestrians to cross towards the park before cars turn only gets you halfway across the street at best. They should add at least another 15 seconds to the delay so that people can cross safely into the park without the fear of a driver failing to yield. It would also be nice to see some signs reminding drivers to turn slowly and yield. N. Moore is similar, but it has far fewer cars and doesn’t feel as bad.

    Hopefully in the long-term they decide to remove some lanes from the WSH. That would shorten the crossing and create new green space.

  5. While we address this situation in other ways, is it possible to highlight the dangers by putting up signs foe pedestrians like ‘this is a dangerous crosswalk, take extra care’ and or simple maps and arrows with ‘recommend spots to cross west st.’. Used to live in the neighborhood and always used the ped bridge at Stuyvesant HS. Channeling the ped traffic a bit also wi create the safety in numbers affect as drivers will take more notice.