Today’s news:

Ocean Parkway horror

Cops are trying to identify a woman who was left clinging to life following a hit-and-run accident at a busy Coney Island corner last week – an intersection that Mayor Michael Bloomberg visited just two weeks earlier to announce the beginning of his Safe Streets initiative. Officials said that the victim, described only as a white woman with black and gray hair and between 45 and 55 years old, was crossing the corner of Ocean Parkway and Neptune Avenue at 7:30 p.m. on February 13 when a black 2007 Audi smacked into her, knocking her right into the path of a passing white 2007 BMW. As the person driving the BMW remained at the scene, the driver of the Audi sped off. The driver, identified as 53-year-old Rubin Roizen of Bethel, New York, was pulled over at the corner of Brighton 3rd Street and Neptune Avenue and charged with leaving the scene of an accident. Police said that the woman was rushed to Lutheran Medical Center suffering from a massive head injury. She was listed in critical but stable condition after treatment, but as of February 15 was still unable to communicate with doctors and identify herself, investigators said. Although she has no name, her story is a common one at this dangerous intersection, remarked City Councilmember Domenic Recchia. “This accident just goes to show you that the conditions at this intersection need to be addressed and that safer pedestrian walkways are needed throughout the city,” said Recchia, who stood with Bloomberg at the end of January as the Mayor unveiled his “Safe Streets for Seniors” initiative, which should bring pedestrian traffic improvements to the area. Coney Island was chosen as a testing ground for the initiative because it is a Naturally Occurring Retirement Community (NORC), which is defined as an area where more than 50 percent of residents living there are over 60 years old. The initiative calls for an adjustment of traffic patterns within these communities to give aging residents more time to cross the street as well as improving pedestrian islands, narrowing roadways and improving curbs, sidewalks and signage to limit the amount of accidents. Areas slated for improvements include Brighton Beach Avenue, Coney Island Avenue, Neptune Avenue and Ocean Parkway. The Coney Island/Brighton Beach corridors are the only areas facing a rehab under the program. If successful, the upgrades will be implemented in other NORC areas in Brooklyn, which include Borough Park, Bensonhurst, Sheepshead Bay, Midwood, Greenpoint and East Flatbush. According to recent studies, senior citizens make up 12 percent of the city’s population, but were involved in 39 percent of fatal pedestrian accidents between 2002 and 2006. While the most recent victim can’t be considered a senior citizen, Recchia said that last week’s accident is evidence that traffic calming initiatives at Ocean Parkway and Neptune Avenue are desperately needed. “This intersection has been a nightmare since I’ve been elected, especially for senior citizens,” he said, adding that improvements to Ocean Parkway and Shore Parkway during a recent rehab of the Belt Parkway – which included a pedestrian median – have made a vast difference. “I have gotten so much good feedback from that corner,” he said. “We now have to make sure that the problem at Ocean Parkway and Neptune is addressed before anyone else gets injured and dies.” Cops are asking anyone with information regarding the identity of the woman involved in the February 13 accident to come forward. Calls can be made to the NYPD CrimeStoppers hotline at (800) 577-TIPS. All calls will be kept confidential. —with Stephen Witt

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