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DOT Hopes to Prevent Pedestrian Accidents With Changes

The New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) is taking steps to make the intersection of Broadway and 96th Street in Manhattan safer for pedestrians. Two fatal pedestrian accidents occurred last year on the same day and within a few blocks of each other and the deadly intersection.

The improvements are part of Mayor Bill de Blasio's Vision Zero, an effort to eliminate pedestrian injuries and deaths in the city. So far, the median walls have been removed and a crosswalk is being installed. The plan also includes prohibiting left turns from southbound Broadway onto 96th Street and giving pedestrians more time to cross the street.

The project is scheduled to be completed soon, although the Director of Special Projects at DOT would not provide a specific date. However, neighborhood residents expect the work to be completed by this summer at the latest.

Although people in the area are pleased by the improvements, some are sceptical that the planned improvements will completely stop accidents at the intersection. One person said, "People will jaywalk no matter what." Others were concerned that prohibiting left turns would simply push the problem to another intersection.

One of the recent pedestrian fatalities happened at 96th and Broadway, while the other occurred at 97th and West End Avenue, two blocks away. The first involved a city bus, while the second death was caused by a speeding taxi.

Source: Columbia Spectator, "Local leaders push for traffic safety after pedestrian deaths," Jan. 14, 2014.