New York Personal Injury Attorney Brian Orlow Comments on Dangerous City Intersections

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New York Personal Injury Attorney Brian Orlow Comments on Dangerous City Intersections

New York City’s streets can be perilous to life and health, but not necessarily because of criminal activity. On October 21, 2013 an elderly Bronx man was killed crossing E. Tremont Avenue on his way to a doctor’s appointment. He was struck by an eastbound vehicle and then two cars headed westbound. The incident, recounted in a November 14, 2013 NY Daily News article, prompted immediate action on the part of Community Board 10. Among the district manager’s requests to the city Department of Transportation (DOT) were an electronic speed monitoring board, additional speed limit signs, and a speed bump to slow down traffic. According to the Daily News account, however, there was no evidence that the vehicles involved in the accident had been speeding.

“There’s no question that excessive speed can cause traffic accidents,” said New York personal injury attorney Brian Orlow. “But, in some cases, it’s the actual design of the intersection that’s the problem.” An October 12, 2011 report by WNYC identified Park Avenue and 33rd Street in Manhattan as the riskiest intersection for pedestrians. Cars proceed above ground via a bypass tunnel for several blocks without traffic signals. With half of the intersection blocked by the tunnel entrance, pedestrians find it difficult to get across the street. At the junction of Broadway at Riverside Drive and Dyckman Street, also in Manhattan, modifications have been introduced to correct persistent hazards to pedestrians. The NY Daily News reported on November 1, 2013 that some left turns will now be prohibited. In addition, pedestrians attempting to navigate the intersection’s confusing crossings previously had only 30 seconds to cover 150 feet. DOT has suggested lengthening the timing of the signal lights to promote safer crossing.

“The timing of traffic signals is crucial to the safety of the very old and the very young,” commented Orlow. For example, as described by New York Magazine on November 25, 2012, Webster Avenue and E. Fordham Road in the Bronx is 70 feet wide with no median. A traffic signal timed at 30 seconds ignores the fact that most pedestrians travel at 3.5 feet per second. Elderly people and small children cover even less ground in the allotted time. To address this hazard at Webster Avenue and E. Fordham Road, The city has re-timed the signal lights to 56 seconds, installed timed countdown walk/don’t walk signals, and provided “pedestrian refuge islands” on E. Fordham Road. Another significant improvement is the lengthening of left turn lanes on Webster Avenue. The New York Magazine article mentioned above cited a study showing that left turn crashes cause death and serious injury three times more frequently than right turn crashes.

“To protect pedestrians and drivers the city must be constantly alert to the presence of dangerous intersections,” said Orlow. “Once the city is aware of fatalities and accidents repeatedly occurring at a specific site, officials are required to correct the safety problem.” A 2011 bill written by city councilwoman Jessica Lappin (District 5, Manhattan) mandates DOT to publicize the city’s 20 most dangerous intersections by borough. As noted by the New York Post on June 24, 2013, these hazardous locations must be audited by DOT for safety repairs. The bill further directs a DOT inspection within 90 days of any intersection at which a pedestrian fatality or four serious accidents have occurred in a year.

The attorneys at the Orlow firm are concerned about holding the proper entities and individuals accountable for driver and pedestrian safety. If you or a loved one has been injured at a dangerous intersection, contact the Orlow firm for a free consultation. They operate three offices across New York City for your convenience. They can go to you if you cannot come to them. To contact the Orlow firm, call 866-959-7202.

1. CBSNewYork October 21, 2013: Pedestrian Struck By 3 Cars In The Bronx Dies ,
2. New York Daily News, November 14, 2013: Bronx's CB 10 calls for changes to dangerous intersection after elderly man is fatally hit by 3 cars,
3. WNYC, October 12, 2011: CrashStat Website Maps NYC's Most Dangerous Intersections,
4. New York Daily News, November 1, 2013: City eyes alterations to one of Inwood's most dangerous intersections,
5. New York Magazine, November 25, 2012: The Worst Intersection in New York...,
6. New York Post, January 24, 2013: City dragging its feet identifying most dangerous intersections,

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Steve Orlow
The ORLOW Firm | Personal Injury Attorneys serving New York City since 1981
since: 11/2010
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