Reckless Driver Terrorizes Pedestrians on Promenade

Just before 5:00 p.m. on Wednesday the usual tranquility of the Brooklyn Heights Promenade was shattered when an auto entered and was driven up and down its length at speeds estimated as high as fifty miles per hour, causing pedestrians to scatter. Fortunately, there were no injuries. Gothamist has full details, and a video taken at the scene. The 33 year old driver, Eric James, is suspected of having been drunk at the time, and faces a number of charges.

Were any readers at or near the Promenade when this happened? If so, please let us know.

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  • AndyHeights

    As someone commented regarding this story on an “Open Thread Wednesday” post is that we need barriers at all the street entrances to keep cars off the Promenade, much like they now have in Manhattan on the West Side Highway bike path, following the terrorist attack there that killed eight people back in 2017. Similar barriers are now in parts of Times Square and throughout the city. Sad times we live in but this is a necessary precaution. It is very fortunate that no one was injured in this situation.

  • petercow

    Yup. I talked to a rep from Eric Adam’s office about this, about 2 year ago. Followed up with him. Heard nothing.

    This is a Tweet of mine from a year ago:

  • Andrew Porter

    I’ve seen police cars slowly driving the length of the Promenade. Bollards would prevent their access, too.

  • aeshtron

    NYPD’s relationship with NYC residents would improve if they got out of their vehicles and walked!
    Bollards do not prevent access to authorized vehicles. The bollards on the Manhattan bridge bicycle lane drop into the ground to allow authorized vehicles to enter.
    NYC pedestrians deserve protection from psycho drivers like the one in Trier Germany who intentionally killed five pedestrians last week.
    Motor vehicle exhaust smells bad, causes pediatric asthma and hastens anthropogenic climate change.

  • petercow

    You can have retractable bollards. They have them at the foot of the Manhattan Bridge bike path. Also in downtown Manhattan.

    Also, God forbid, the cops get out of their cars.

  • petercow

    LOL Aeshtron. Sorry, I didn’t see your post before I posted mine. Great minds…

  • Heightsguy77

    You call yourself the “Circumcised Kraken”!?!!?!?!?!?!

  • KXrVrii1

    NYC is a pedestrian city, it is always going to be possible to find a place where a theoretical psycho could drive through a decent crowd of people.

    This seems to be a statistically insignificant event not worthy of a solution, especially given the mess the city’s finances are likely to be in for years.

  • Remsenster

    it is horrible that this happened and action must be taken to prevent anything like this from happening again.
    Thankfully, it is a rare occurrence, which in no way diminishes the danger. However, every single day pedestrians are in danger walking on the Promenade because there are bicycles speeding down it, kids on scooters careening around, and on occasion motorcycles riding along it. Actions need to be taken to insure the safety of pedestrians by limiting access to all vehicles and the police need to be patrolling and enforcing the laws.

  • ColumbiaHeightster

    Why do the police officers need to be driving full sized cars to “walk” the Promenade beat?

  • Cranberry Beret

    Terrorist drove down West Side Highway bike path a few years ago and killed 4 people. Drunk driver zoomed down the Promenade last week, his gross recklessness only avoiding killing anybody because of chance.

    The danger doesn’t seem very theoretical to me.

  • KXrVrii1

    You are what we used to call in the old days a “scaredy-cat.”

  • Eddyde

    I think the point is, potential locations for a mass vehicular homocide are ubiquitous in NYC.

  • Cranberry Beret

    I disagree with your logic that focusing on one would offer little protection. The Promenade is a pretty high-profile target. Would you suggest the NYPD stop protecting the Brooklyn Bridge because there are so many other bridges to protect?

    Also, we don’t actually need to focus on one location. Many European cities have *all* of their pedestrian areas in the dense city cores segregated from vehicles with low bollards. This protects from careless driving, parking on the sidewalk, etc. in addition to more intentional harms. There’s no reason we couldn’t do this here, other than the Di Blasio kind of attitude which is “NYC is special – we don’t do anything differently than what we did in 1973″

  • KXrVrii1

    It is quicker, allowing them to patrol more areas and still respond to an emergency. Sometimes it is rainy, snowy, freezing cold or really hot, and some of us like to know our first responders are kept comfortable. They can keep various emergency supplies in the trunk. Some of them also keep extra donuts in the trunk, which they give to civilians who know the secret PBA handshake.

  • KXrVrii1

    I grew up in Europe and travel there frequently (at least until this year). By no means do they have bollards protecting “*all* of their pedestrian areas.”

  • Greg

    You’re missing Cranberry’s point.

    There’s plenty of precedent in many European cities, many non-European cities, and even New York City showing the safety benefits of a a wider view of restricting vehicles and overall safety. Janette Sadik-Khan particularly was a major pioneer of that in New York City: applying a comprehensive, sustained, data-driven approach to the problem.

    We don’t have to just throw our hands up in the air and accept a status quo recklessness. It’s perfectly rational to study dangerous layouts and systematically improve the worst ones. It’s also fiscally responsible and can actually *make* money when factoring in all economic costs dangerous incidents produce.

    There really is no argument for just accepting a dangerous status quo because it’s always been that way. Yes, we can survive it. But why?

    If you’re arguing the promenade would’t make the top of the list, I can respect that argument. That’s precisely where I’d hope data driven researchers could make the call vs. people like you and me with only anecdotes.

  • KXrVrii1

    This thread is about responding to an extremely rare event – someone driving drunk down the promenade. In an incident where no one was injured. While I’m not completely certain, I believe that leaves the vehicular death rate on the promenade at zero.

    I believe my view that there are a bunch of ninnies on this tread is more data driven than their knee-jerk reactions.

  • Proto Plano

    As of today, concrete blocks have been placed in front of the entrances to the promenade. Though I think they did not put one at Pierrepont street to allow NYPD patrol car access. I would hope that retractible bollards will follow.

  • Eddyde

    LOL, Spot on!

  • Eddyde

    “The Promenade is a pretty high-profile target”. That’s almost laughable as you have no evidence to support your theory, other than paranoia.
    If bollards were installed at the entrances of the Promenade It might well prevent an attack there but a terrorists or psycho would simply pick another target.

    ‘NYPD protecting the Brooklyn Bridge’ Are they really, what exactly are they doing? Every time I drive by, those cops stationed on the roadways are staring out into their phones. Not that I blame them, what an excruciatingly boring assignment that must be.

  • aeshtron

    It almost happened again last night (December 10th, 2020) on the West Side Bicycle path near 60th street. This time sensible infrastructure protected cyclists and pedestrians from a psycho motorist.