Safer Streets to Reduce Personal Injury and Deaths
Safer streets have been a NYC goal that is a work in progress. That goal aligns with New Year’s resolutions, which have long been a tradition in our country. January is a time for review and a time for launching plans for improvement. As personal injury lawyers at Sackstein, Sackstein and Lee, LLC, we focus primarily on helping victims deal with injuries and wrongful death. We can help people hold accountable those parties who have are responsible for causing their suffering. However, in the same token, we welcome ideas for an evolving society with safer streets and more opportunity to enjoy life.
An article entitled “On city streets, prioritize people over cars” published by The Fourth Regional Plan provides a thought provoking overview of past progress. It also suggests a path for future improvement.
Past Progress with Safer Streets
From the year 2000 through 2016, New York City reduced traffic fatalities from 400 to 229, close to a 50% reduction. The city also built 1,200 miles of bicycle lanes and created 15 Select Bus Service routes. Plans include building more routes by 2030. NYC also closed Prospect Park to cars.
Plans for Future Improvement
Despite the significant progress, the amount of NYC street space set aside for walking, cycling and bike lanes is less than 25%. The majority of this street space exists in Manhattan and denser city areas. However, more than 75% of the city is congested with private automobiles, taxis, company delivery vehicles, freight trucks, construction equipment, buses, garbage trucks and emergency vehicles. The result is heavy traffic, air pollution and prevalence of accidents.
Areas for improvement include the following:
- Delivery and garbage trucks make runs even during the busiest traffic hours
- No preference is given to clean, electric vehicles
- Buses and subways are more expensive than driving over the four East River Bridges
- Free or heavily subsidized parking encourages people to drive their own vehicles
On-demand, shared and autonomous vehicles would help reduce traffic, as would cutbacks on parking. Redesigning streets to prioritize pedestrians/cyclists over cars would help the goal of dedicating 80% of street space to cyclists and pedestrians. The city could work on further expanding the Select Bus Service Program and work with the MTA to reduce fares. It could adopt bike share citywide so it reaches all five boroughs. Another effective effort would be to ban driving in Central Park and other city parks.
Are You a Traffic Accident Victim?
A serious car accident can compromise you physically, emotionally and financially. If you believe the other driver was at fault, consult with an experienced accident attorney. A lawyer can find out if a legal basis exists to pursue a lawsuit and recover compensation for damages.