Thursday, January 26, 2023

Family, Friends of Fallen Paramedic Bring Attention to Dangerous Road Conditions

One month after Ambulnz Paramedic Lisa Sillins was struck and killed while walking to her vehicle in the City of Newburgh, her family members and friends gathered with signs and high-visibility jackets to bring attention to the dangerous conditions for pedestrians crossing the roadway.

Sillins had just finished her shift and was walking across Robinson Avenue near the intersection of Plank Road to get into her vehicle which was parked in the employees’ parking lot, located across the street from Ambulnz’s station. Unfortunately, she never made it as she was struck and killed by an accused drunk driver.

Robinson Avenue is also known as Route 9W, which is a state road running north and south. The intersection with Plank Road, which runs east and west, is located just south of the Interstate 84 interchange at the entrance to the Newburgh-Beacon Bridge.

As family members and friends gathered at the intersection yesterday, they interacted with community members. Some were unaware of what happened just one month prior. The group crossed the road at the crosswalk multiple times to raise awareness and to investigate the behavior of motorists.

According to the Emergency Medical Services Public Advisory Council, the group noticed several issues at the intersection.

First, the posted speed limit on Robinson Avenue is 30 mph. EMSPAC representatives observed that only a small fraction of the drivers adhered to the speed limit.

Second, EMSPAC stated that the intersection is hazardous for pedestrians despite having a traffic light and a crosswalk. There is no pedestrian signal, nor is there a button for pedestrians to change the lights.

Northbound traffic only receives a red light when southbound traffic is waiting to turn left. Southbound traffic only receives a red light when a vehicle activates the sensor while proceeding eastbound on Plank Rd. However, that is infrequent since Plank Road eastbound leads out from a small residential area. Additionally, that traffic light is marked as a right turn only. Motorists wanting to make a left turn do so illegally and drive through the Citgo station to make a left onto Robinson Avenue.

“With our continued efforts and support from the community, we aim to make this area safer for pedestrians and drivers alike,” explained Alex Camacho, a representative of EMSPAC’s Hudson Valley division.

Ashley Lurie, the EMSPAC Hudson Valley Division Leader, added, “This is the first of many future plans to highlight this issue. The phone calls and texts that I have personally received from residents of Newburgh since Lisa’s passing have been pretty consistent: they have an issue with the city, they have an issue with this intersection, and they want something done about it. I don’t know how you’re all reaching me, but keep it up!”

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