I read a very good article in the December 3, 2012 edition of New York Magazine about dangerous intersections in New York City. According to studies performed by the New York City Department of Transportation, (NYCDOT) the most dangerous intersection in the City of New York is at Webster Avenue and East Fordham Road in the Bronx. In 2008, the DOT determined that traffic accidents at the intersection resulted in serious injuries to 14 pedestrians and 2 bicyclists. Since 1995, 131 pedestrians and bicyclists have suffered injuries there.
There are numerous reasons why this intersection is so dangerous. First, Webster Avenue is approximately 70 feet wide, with no median. Studies show that the average pedestrian walks at approximately 3.5 feet per second, and elderly pedestrians and young children at a slower pace of about 2.5 feet per second. A standard walk signal can be approximately 30-45 seconds, and often, this does not provide sufficient time for the pedestrian to cross safely, particularly elderly pedestrians.
Another safety issue at Webster Avenue and East Fordham Road is the congestion caused by about 80,000 shoppers daily, as the area is a shopping hub. Additionally, Fordham University, a Metro North station and a high school are all nearby, bringing much more substantial foot traffic.
Third, due to traffic congestion, stopped vehicles cause pedestrians to cross against the light. Statistically, pedestrian accidents are over 50% more deadly than those when the light is in the pedestrian’s favor. Fourth, there are 8 bus routes which stop at the intersection. Buses are a major obstruction to visibility, rendering cars, traffic lights and pedestrians harder to observe.
The DOT has made several changes to the intersection in an effort to improve safety. The timing of the lights was increased to 56 seconds, allowing the elderly and slower pedestrians more time to cross. Timed countdown walk/don’t walk lights were added. However, it is not clear if this measure will prevent often frustrated, and late, pedestrians from crossing against the traffic light.
Another improvement has been to lengthen the left turn lanes on Webster Avenue. Statistically, there is no question that left turn accidents are much more likely to result in serious injury or death to pedestrians or bicyclists than right turn accidents. The left turn lane is now 200 feet longer (approximately 13 car lengths), providing drivers with much more time to change lanes and to execute their left turns.
The stop point for cars on Webster Avenue was moved back 12 feet behind the crosswalks. This limits the likelihood that a driver will be surprised by a pedestrian who walks in front of his or her car. Further, street markings were repainted and cross hatchings added.
On its website, the NYC DOT lists current projects that it is working on to implement safety improvements to intersections, roads, and parks around New York City.
If you or a loved one are seriously injured due to a car accident, bicycle accident or pedestrian accident, you will need the services of an aggressive trial attorney who has the experience, skill and knowledge to obtain full compensation for past and future pain and suffering, loss of earnings and earning potential, medical and hospital expenses, and loss of enjoyment of life. Contact the Westchester County Car Accident Attorneys at the White Plains, New York Law Office of Mark A. Siesel, as we are dedicated to obtaining the maximum possible compensation for our clients. Call us toll free at 888-761-7633 or contact us online for your free initial consultation today.