Pedestrian Killed in Beacon (Updated)

A Beacon woman died on Wednesday (Dec. 1) after being struck by a car turning from Main Street onto Teller Avenue, police said on Thursday.

The incident occurred at about 3:15 p.m., according to the Beacon Police Department. The woman, identified by her family as Carla Giuffrida, 75, was treated at the scene by the Beacon Fire Department and taken by helicopter to Montefiore St. Luke’s Cornwall Hospital in Newburgh. She was later transferred to Westchester Medical Center in Valhalla, where she died.

A native of California, Giuffrida is survived by her two children and six grandchildren. She was a Montessori and fiber arts teacher at the Homestead School in Glen Spey (Sullivan County) for nearly 30 years until her retirement in 2016.

Police said a preliminary investigation found that a westbound Jeep Wrangler was stopped for a red light on Main Street. Giuffrida was standing on the corner of Main and Teller, headed east and waiting to cross. When the light turned green, she entered the crosswalk and the driver of the Jeep made a left turn onto Teller, striking her. 

Beacon police said that neither impairment nor speed was a factor. It declined to identify the pedestrian or the driver, although a spokesman said a ticket had been issued. The department responded to a Freedom of Information Law request for the accident report by saying no information would be released while the incident is under investigation.

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4 thoughts on “Pedestrian Killed in Beacon (Updated)

  1. It’s very sad to read that someone was killed walking across the street. One possible solution to make the intersection safer has been implemented in other places such as Rhinebeck (at the intersection of Market Street and Route 9), where they changed the traffic light to what is called an “exclusive pedestrian interval.”

    This is a traffic signal that temporary stops all vehicle traffic, thereby allowing pedestrians to cross safely without cars being allowed to turn into the intersection with a green light. It has been implemented in cities where pedestrian traffic has increased. It is a nice feeling when crossing at that intersection; when the signal says it’s safe to walk, all cars are stopped.

    This type of intersection might not be the answer, but a traffic investigation should be done to see if implementing this change would help prevent more accidents.

  2. In light of the recent fatal crash, Beacon should move to install a leading pedestrian interval (LPI) at that intersection, as well as at other dangerous intersections. By giving pedestrians a head start to cross before turning traffic, LPIs have been shown to reduce conflicts by 60 percent, and can be implemented quickly and at minimal cost.

    We should conceive of tragic incidents like this not as unavoidable accidents, but as something we can prevent through a mix of better design, technology and enforcement.
    Installing LPIs will mean that cars have to wait a bit longer at intersections. But Main Street is the beating, people-oriented heart of our city, and if pedestrians can’t feel safe simply crossing the street there, where will they ever feel safe?

  3. I agree with other comments about increasing pedestrian safety in the Main Street area. I lost a very dear friend that day, and others will be mourning if we lose someone else. Let’s do whatever can be done! It’s not safe to walk, and it’s difficult even to drive down Main.

  4. I am not saying this was the case in this reported incident, but I have observed very commonly that pedestrians, particularly those who appear to be visitors, pay no particular attention to the traffic lights, or to traffic indications, information, or conditions generally. Often they are mostly paying attention to their “smartphone” or to themselves, or to something, or someone, else.

    Drivers, I see, and I experience, are often forced to pay attention to numerous pedestrian hazards, or to hazards from other vehicles, bicycles, etc., and also to unseen, potential hazards (see below).

    These conditions I have also observed in the village of Cold Spring.

    Prior to, or perhaps after Officer Burke’s patrol car was hit, some weeks ago, in the intersection of Main and Chestnut Streets in Cold Spring, it appears someone adjusted the timing of the lights there such that for a while they are red in all directions, before turning green again.

    At this intersection, and at many others in Beacon and in Cold Spring, I observe autos illegally parked, or simply stopped, partially into the intersection. This reduces the visibility for drivers and for other pedestrians around corners, and generally.

    Accidents and even deaths will continue as long as the behaviors I report continue, I must say, sadly, but bluntly.

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