A beloved 76-year-old Greenwich Village resident was tragically killed this week after being hit by an SUV while crossing the street just steps away from her home.
On Tuesday evening around 6:30 pm, Lori Kleinman was crossing Greenwich Avenue at West 10th Street when she was struck by a black Chevrolet SUV making a left turn onto Greenwich Avenue. Kleinman was rushed to Bellevue Hospital but succumbed to her injuries and was pronounced dead.
The driver of the SUV, a 56-year-old man, remained at the scene following the collision and was not charged. An investigation into the fatal crash remains ongoing.
Kleinman was a longtime resident of Greenwich Village and lived just half a block away from where the collision occurred, in an apartment building on Greenwich Avenue near West 10th Street. She had been a beloved member of the community for over 40 years.
Friends, family, and neighbors are mourning the loss of Kleinman, who was described as a “gentle force of nature” and “the kindest of souls.” She was known for her warm spirit, infectious laugh, and dedication to her community.
Victim Was Active Community Member
In addition to being a Greenwich Village fixture, Kleinman was an active member of several community organizations. She served on the board of the Jefferson Market Garden for over 10 years, helping to maintain and preserve the historic community garden in Greenwich Village.
Robin Felsher, Kleinman’s wife, who also serves on the garden’s board, said Kleinman was “utterly devoted” to the garden and worked tirelessly to organize events, raise funds, and advocate for open green space in the neighborhood.
Kleinman was also involved with the Greenwich Village Block Associations, a group representing residents and businesses in the area. She helped organize street fairs and worked to address community concerns around traffic safety and pedestrian rights.
Her passion for the community was evident in everything she did, from volunteering at voter registration drives to supporting local businesses to marching in protest of causes she believed in. Friends say Kleinman embodied the spirit of Greenwich Village and its history of activism.
Driver Cooperated With Investigation
The driver of the SUV that struck Kleinman remained at the scene and was cooperative with investigators, according to police reports.
The driver, a 56-year-old man from the Bronx, was not impaired at the time of the collision. He had a valid driver’s license, and the vehicle was properly registered and insured.
Police say it appears Kleinman was crossing mid-block between intersections when she was hit, not within a crosswalk. The investigation is ongoing as to whether any charges will be filed or citations issued against the driver.
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Under New York State law, drivers are required to exercise due care to avoid colliding with pedestrians. Failure to yield the right of way to pedestrians in a crosswalk is punishable by a traffic ticket. Criminal charges are possible if a driver is found to have been reckless, intoxicated, or intentionally hit a pedestrian.
So far, investigators have not indicated there was any criminal wrongdoing on the part of the SUV driver in Kleinman’s death. The collision remains under active investigation by the NYPD’s Collision Investigation Squad.
Pedestrian Deaths on the Rise in NYC
While the specific circumstances around Kleinman’s death are still being determined, her tragic accident highlights a growing public safety crisis of pedestrians being killed by vehicles in New York City.
Pedestrian deaths have risen dramatically over the past decade, increasing by over 50% since Mayor Bill de Blasio took office in 2014. In 2021, the number of pedestrian fatalities in New York City hit a 25-year high with 244 deaths.
Dangerous driving behaviors like speeding, failure to yield, and distracted driving have contributed to the spike in pedestrian fatalities, according to traffic safety advocates. They also point to a lack of adequate street redesign and enforcement by the city to protect pedestrians and cyclists.
The intersection where Kleinman was hit, Greenwich Avenue and West 10th Street, has been flagged as a high crash location in need of safety improvements. There were 22 pedestrian injuries at the intersection between 2016-2020, according to data from the Vision Zero View map.
In response to the rise in pedestrian deaths, Mayor Eric Adams released a new Vision Zero safety plan earlier this year. However, critics say it still lacks the appropriate levels of street redesign and speed enforcement needed to make a real impact on driver behavior.
Community Mourns Loss of Beloved Resident
While investigations continue into the specifics of the crash, Kleinman’s family, friends, and fellow Greenwich Village residents are left mourning the loss of a woman who profoundly impacted her community.
On the steps of Kleinman’s apartment building, a makeshift memorial was created with flowers and written tributes. Neighbors described her as a loving friend who always made time to chat on the front stoop and showed interest in everyone she met.
Her wife Robin said Kleinman leaves behind “an enormous, aching hole in the heart of everyone who knew her.” She touched countless lives through her compassion, generosity, and service to others.
The Greenwich Village community has lost one of its most dedicated members. But Kleinman’s legacy lives on through the people and places she worked so passionately to improve. Her bright spirit remains woven into the fabric of Greenwich Village, a “gentle force of nature” that won’t be forgotten.