Springfield Unveils Redesign of State Street After Pedestrian Deaths

For years, portions of State Street in Springfield, Massachusetts have experienced numerous pedestrian accidents including a number of fatalities, the latest being in November 2021. One particular area of concern was near the site of the Springfield Public Library. According to studies made of this area, observers reported an average of 6 pedestrians per hour crossing mainly between the driveways east of the library with most persons having to wait several minutes before being able to cross safely. As a result of the study, the city plans to make several changes to ensure pedestrian safety.

This particular area of State Street has a speed limit of 30 miles per hour but most cars were observed traveling well above the limit with the morning rush hour experiencing average speeds of 42 miles per hour. Poor lighting makes crossing the street even more hazardous at night or during bad weather. Observers also noticed that many pedestrians crossing at this area had to quickly retreat when speeding motorists failed to slow or to even notice their presence. 

Car Accident and Pedestrian Accidents

Springfield has two concepts presented by engineers to consider with the goal of increasing pedestrian safety in the area. Concept 1 includes:

  • A high intensity activated crosswalk with a signal directing motorists to stop when a pedestrian enters the crosswalk
  • Lanes that merge from two into one in each direction, forcing motorists to slow down and prevent passing and to improve visibility 
  • A large pedestrian refuge island for those unable to completely cross

Concept 2 would consist of:

  • A high intensity activated crosswalk with signal to motorists alerting them of persons in the crosswalk
  • Lanes merging from two into one—similar to that in Concept 1
  • Curb extensions on both sides of State Street that would shorten the distance to cross and enhance visibility of pedestrians to motorists
  • A median refuge island
  • A speed table with elevated crosswalk that is 4-8 inches above the roadway that improves visibility for motorists of those in the crosswalk, providing easier access for disabled persons due to the level surface, and forcing drivers to slow down

Concept 2 would cost about $19,000 more than Concept 1. 

Traditional crosswalks, while proving essential for pedestrian safety, need enhanced safety features in many urban and residential areas. Motorists often neglect to even notice a crosswalk or ignore the presence of pedestrians due to speed, distraction, fatigue, or impairment due to drugs and/or alcohol. 

Pedestrian Safety Tips

No one should ever assume that crossing any street is always safe, even with such safety measures as elevated crosswalks or those with flashing signals or refuge islands. When walking on any roadway or crossing a street, follow these safety tips:

  • If on a roadway with your back to traffic, turn and face an approaching vehicle so that you can react if it travels too close to you 
  • Always use a crosswalk if available
  • Look both ways when crossing and continue to look while crossing
  • Wait for approaching traffic to slow when crossing regardless of whether flashing lights are on to alert motorists
  • At night or in rainy or other bad weather, consider wearing bright clothing or use a flashlight 
  • Stay off your cellphone or other distracted behavior when crossing the street 
  • Stay with small children who are crossing with you

What To Do If in an Accident

If you are injured as a pedestrian, there are some steps to follow to preserve your right to make an injury claim and to get the best possible outcome:

  • Get off the street or roadway as soon as you can.
  • Keep the driver at the scene—if the driver attempts to flee, see if witnesses can get the license number or at least a description of the vehicle and driver.
  • Always accept medical care from first responders even if you feel your injuries are minor and accept transport to a hospital. Many injuries, including head trauma, do not show symptoms for many hours.
  • If possible, take photos of the accident scene including road signs, the involved vehicle, traffic lights, and any other things that may have played a role. Take photos of the responsible driver’s license, registration, and insurance card.
  • Speak to an attorney at your earliest opportunity. An attorney will handle your insurance issues, contact the other party’s insurer, obtain a police or accident report, gather all necessary documents, and handle all other aspects of your claim.
  • Do not speak to any investigators or insurance agents or representatives until you have contacted and spoken to a car accident lawyer.

Damages in Car Accident Injury and Death Claims 

In a car accident injury claim, your damages will largely depend on your medical expenses, lost wages, duration of treatment, and whether you suffered a permanent disability or disfigurement. Damages can consist of:

  • Past and future medical expenses
  • Past and future income loss
  • Loss of earning capacity
  • Diminished quality of life
  • Pain and suffering
  • Psychological impact 
  • Spousal claim for loss of consortium

Damages are different in wrongful death claims. They may include:

  • Burial and funeral expenses
  • Medical expenses incurred before death
  • Income loss during the decedent’s lifetime 
  • Pain and suffering if decedent visibly suffered
  • Loss of the decedent’s love, guidance, and counsel
  • Punitive damages if the defendant’s conduct was grossly negligent 

Any serious or wrongful death claim should be handled by a wrongful death lawyer who can hold all responsible parties accountable, address liability and insurance coverage issues, and prove your damages. 

Retain a Wrongful Death Lawyer from Burns and Jain

Burns and Jain are lawyers who have been representing victims and their families in car accident injury claims, wrongful death, and other personal injury claims throughout the Boston area and the state. Retain a wrongful death lawyer from Burns and Jain and let us handle your claim from the start and give you the best opportunity for a successful resolution. Call us at (617) 227-7423 for a free consultation about your injury or wrongful death claim.

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