Safety advocates: Traffic deaths up 60% this year
From January to October of 2020, Philadelphia has seen 120 citywide traffic fatalities. That's up from 75 during the same period in 2019, according to Philly Voice. This includes 42 pedestrian deaths (up from fewer than 30 in 2019) and bicyclist deaths that have more than doubled. Many pedestrian accidents occur in high-risk and disadvantaged areas throughout the city.
Philadelphia's Office of Transportation, Infrastructure and Sustainability (oTIS) estimates that more than 250 crashes and four deaths occurred along Washington Avenue in South Philly. oTIS works with other transportation agencies and organizations to implement policies and projects that improve safety for communities throughout Philadelphia.
Philadelphia is among the many American cities that have adopted the Vision Zero goal of reaching zero traffic fatalities by the year 2030. According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, city officials have recently set their sights on the dangerous stretch of Washington Ave. The section of Washington Ave. where the changes were approved is comprised of three driving lanes, two parking lanes and two parking-protected bike lanes.
Current dangers to pedestrians and bicyclists
The current layout can be confusing and dangerous for pedestrians, bicyclists and drivers. oTIS plans to make this section safer for all road users. City officials say that it's been nearly two decades since Washington Ave. underwent repaving. Washington Ave. reportedly causes a lot of problems for road users. Many drivers speed down the road while encountering several traffic lights, double-parked cars and potholes. Cars parked in protected bike lanes often force bicyclists to swerve into the flow of vehicular traffic.
In addition, pedestrians crossing the three driving lanes face the risk of encountering drivers speeding, driving distracted or driving impaired.
Solutions that promote pedestrian and bicyclist safety
After conducting a survey earlier in 2020, city officials found that the vast majority of South Philly residents preferred the three-lane layout with lanes designated for pedestrians and bicyclists. Some participants considered a four-lane or mix-lane layout. City officials plan to include:
- Retimed signals for better traffic flow.
- New loading spaces to reduce double parking.
- Revised parking regulations to prevent drivers from parking in the same spots for several hours.
- Floating bus islands so pedestrians can safely enter and exit buses.
Lily Reynolds is Philadelphia's deputy director of Complete Streets. The city's Complete Streets policy was introduced in 2009 and makes sure that all forms of transportation are considered when street projects are being completed.
“As a city that is committed to Vision Zero, this is a really important step towards improving traffic safety for Philadelphia,” Reynolds said. “We know that people have lost their lives, or victims' families have lost loved ones, and that continues to be something that we know we can prevent from happening by designing safer streets.”
Contact our law firm for help with your pedestrian accident claim
Pedestrians should not have to risk their lives just to cross the street. Sadly, many sustain serious and life-threatening injuries because of negligent drivers. If you were injured in a pedestrian accident, knowing which course of action to take may not be clear. You likely sustained a serious injuries such as:
- Traumatic brain injury
- Broken bones
- Neck, back and spine injuries
- Internal organ damage
- Nerve damage
- Crushed limbs
The at-fault driver's insurance company may try to contact you and offer you a lowball settlement that only covers a fraction of your damages. It's important that you avoid speaking to the insurance companies without first consulting with an experienced pedestrian accident attorney. The legal team at Villari, Brandes & Giannone will investigate the events that led to your crash and fight for maximum compensation. Contact us online to schedule your free and confidential case evaluation.