Pedestrian, cyclist struck and killed in Manhattan crashes

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A pedestrian and a bicyclist were killed early Sunday in separate traffic crashes in upper Manhattan, lending a sense of urgency to Mayor Bill de Blasio's push for safer streets.

Samantha Lee, 26, crossing the street in her Upper West Side neighborhood around 4:45 a.m., was clipped by the mirror of an ambulance and fell onto the street, where she was hit by a car, the NYPD said.

She was pronounced dead at the scene.

Lee was crossing West 96th Street mid-block between Broadway and West End Avenue. The area has seen three pedestrian deaths since Jan. 10.

Also Sunday, around 1:30 a.m., Pedro Santiago, 45, of East Harlem, was biking along West 125th Street near Lenox Avenue in Harlem, when he was struck by an MTA Bx15 bus and became lodged beneath it, police said.

He died at a hospital.

The drivers involved in both cases stayed on the scene, no arrests were made and the investigations are ongoing, police said.

De Blasio last week announced a crackdown on reckless driving, with plans to issue more tickets, lower some speed limits and assign more patrol officers.

He called his initiative "Vision Zero," with the goal of eliminating all traffic-related deaths by 2024.

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Mayoral press secretary Phil Walzak renewed the call for action to end the "epidemic."

"We won't sit by while lives are lost and families are torn apart," Walzak said in a statement. "These latest crashes underscore the urgent need to make our streets safer."

Council member Helen Rosenthal, who represents the Upper West Side, said it's "unthinkable" that three pedestrian deaths occurred within days in the same corridor.

City Department of Transportation spokesman Scott Gastel said the agency is developing pedestrian-safety enhancements for that area. "Safety is our top priority," he said.

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