Cross on the green, not in between

Saturday, January 27th, 2007 | All Things

In the 1990s, Queens Boulevard was nicknamed the “Boulevard of Death,” a reference to the many people who were struck and killed by cars while trying to cross the 10+ lane thoroughfare. Between 1993 and 2000, there were 72 recorded pedestrian deaths. Citizens groups like Transportation Alternatives have covered the situation avidly, prompting a “Pedestrian Safety Study” by the Department of Transportation, after which the city instituted a series of initatives: (slightly) lowering the boulevard speed limits, installing red light cameras and closing one lane to traffic on the service road. The Department also erected fences along the road to reduce jaywalking, increased pedestrian crossing times and posted warning signs like this one in Elmhurst:

Pedestrian Killed

A more vivid graphic would feature a person flying off the hood of a speeding car, but that probably would be considered poor taste.

Pedestrian fatalities on Queens Boulevard have decreased significantly since the DOT’s re-engineering, dropping to 4 in the last three years, 11 since 2001.

Not to shift the blame to pedestrians, but at least once a week I witness some crazed fool make a mad sprint against the light, leaving the squeal of tires or the blare of indignant car horns in his — yes, usually: his — wake. Or perhaps worse: the oblivious ones who wander into traffic as they gab into their cell phones, rock out on their iPods or send messages on their Blackberries. Why, people? Have we become a society that proposes laws to enforce the lessons we should have learned in elementary school?

There are 2 Comments ... Cross on the green, not in between

February 8, 2007

Yes, you should get fined if you don’t look both ways. It would be a tax on the stupid & reckless, just like the lottery is a tax on people who can’t do math.

February 8, 2007

It is human nature to overestimate the odds of a positive outcome, and to underestimate the odds of a negative one. Luckily, we have the Internet to help us out with the cold, hard numbers.

Go for it ...