Harlem, Lower East Side Children More Likely To Die In Crosswalks

Harlem is in the process of socioeconomic revitalization, but the neighborhood's children still face an unacceptable pedestrian accident rate - one that's continued for decades.

According to Transportation Alternatives, a New York City transportation advocacy organization, a pedestrian hurt in a crash in East Harlem is three times more likely to be a child than on the Upper East Side. Transport Alternatives also named East 125th Street and Lexington Avenue as the most deadly intersection for child pedestrians in New York City.

Children in Harlem aren't the only ones being struck by motor vehicles at an alarming rate in Manhattan. Children on the Lower East Side are also significantly more likely to be hit by a car than children in Manhattan neighborhoods with higher median incomes.

Safety advocates have highlighted the data and are asking New York City officials why children from lower-income neighborhoods disproportionately suffer higher pedestrian accident rates.

What Is Causing The Inflated Child Collision Ratio?

There is no single answer, but safety advocates point out that wealthier neighborhoods generally receive more improvements than lower-income areas. New York City is in the middle of an expansive plan to make the city more pedestrian- and bicycle-friendly, but many Harlem and Lower East Side residents say that deadly intersections in their neighborhoods have been ignored.

It can't be overlooked that lower-income neighborhoods often have a greater density of children through public housing developments. This isn't an excuse for higher pedestrian accident fatalities involving children, however, as city officials should be implementing additional safety features in neighborhoods with lots of kids walking to and from public schools.

Department of Transportation (DOT) officials acknowledge the problem and say they're working on solutions.

"From last year's safety redesign of Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Boulevard to school safety projects to simplifying the entrance to Harlem River Park, Harlem has seen some of the most extensive and innovative safety changes ever brought to New York City streets," wrote Seth Solomonow of NYC DOT when responding to an inquiry from Transportation Nation, an independent public radio reporting project.

What Are The Solutions?

Reduced speed limits, pedestrian islands and shorter crosswalk distances are three viable solutions. To improve speed limit enforcement, some safety advocates are calling for the installation of speed cameras, although state law currently prevents the use of this technology. With or without speed cameras, other significant intersection improvements need to be made on the Lower East Side and in Harlem.

Authorities point out that the city is in the process of upgrading the road infrastructure throughout Manhattan. According to NYC DOT, pedestrians are four times as likely to be killed or seriously injured per mile of road in Manhattan when compared with other boroughs. Officials say they've put an added emphasis on making Manhattan safer for walkers and cyclists.

Still, plenty of work needs to be done. Just weeks ago, Amar Diarrassouba, a first-grader at Public School 155, was fatally run over by a truck while crossing First Avenue. A school crossing guard was supposed to be at the intersection, but was inexplicably absent.

If Your Child Is Injured, Stand Up For Your Rights

The New York Police Department (NYPD) rarely pursues criminal charges after pedestrian accidents, except when they involve drunk driving. Citizens are left with lawsuits as the only means of holding the wrongdoer accountable. Injury suits also allow the victim or surviving family to recover money compensation for the harm unfairly inflicted upon them.

If your child has been injured by a driver, it's crucial to promptly contact an experienced New York child injury lawyer. A skilled attorney can quickly investigate your claim and collect important evidence. Also, New York has strict time limits for bringing injury or wrongful death claims, another reason to act swiftly.

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