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Driver speeds SUV through Vanderbilt Avenue barrier and fence, plunges fatally into MTA railyard

Photo: Dec. 31
On Saturday, December 30, a driver mysteriously accelerated an Audi SUV across Vanderbilt Avenue from the McDonald's lot between Atlantic Avenue and Pacific Street and breached the concrete barrier and fence guarding the below-grade Vanderbilt Yard,

The vehicle plunged some 30 feet into the working railyard, used to store and service Long Island Rail Road trains.

The driver died and the passenger was severely injured, and a chunk of the barrier was pushed to the railyard floor. The vehicle had a record of driving violations. 
Streetsblog's Julianne Cuba reported 12/30/22 that the vehicle might have been going 40 miles per hour.

Photo: Dec. 31
Though witnesses said the driver raced across Vanderbilt, police, according to Streetsblog, were willing to attribute it to a “medical episode” or a “freak accident," despite a 13 speeding tickets since 2019 for the vehicle.

The New York Post said the driver was a 70-year-old man and attributed (via police) the incident to a medical emergency.

LIRR service was not disrupted. It appeared the the vehicle did not hit any of the stored trains, which are positioned somewhat further from the wall.

In the future

Some years down the road, the situation at that block should be very different.

The McDonald's site is part of a larger parcel, known as 840 Atlantic Avenue, approved for high-rise development, which hasn't started.

The railyard is supposed to be decked, with the block between Carlton and Vanderbilt avenues supporting (likely) the last three towers in the Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park project.  

But Vanderbilt Avenue will remain a key artery, so the builders of the open space and B10 eastern tower may have to be mindful of traffic calming.

Photo: Dec. 31