Enjoy A Relaxing Lunch as Traffic Whiz’s By Just Inches Away

Recently, on August 27, 2008, two cabs collided sending one of them onto a Times Square sidewalk. Shortly before that accident, on August 15, 2008, New York City carved a new public esplanade on the roadway of Broadway from 42nd to 35th Streets for people to sit, eat lunch, and to just enjoy being outdoors. Called Broadway Boulevard by the Department of Transportation, the area has a gravel coating glued to the pavement, and a bike lane next to the sidewalk. Cafe tables, benches, chairs, umbrellas and flower-filled planters have been set out for people to use as cars and trucks whiz past.

To create the esplanade, the city took away the two easternmost of the four traffic lanes on Broadway from 42nd to 35th Streets. The project cost $700,000. The city also created parking areas along parts of the esplanade, and the parked vehicles create an added buffer for pedestrians. Three business improvement districts, the Times Square Alliance, the Fashion Center B.I.D. and the 34th Street Partnership, have agreed to maintain the esplanade and pay for the plantings.

Stressing the esplanades’ safety, spokesman for the DOT, Seth Solomonow, said, The plaza is protected by parked cars in some locations and in others by planters weighing 600 or 1,000 pounds and stationed in positions that prevent vehicles from passing in between. . . We have used planters as a pedestrian safeguard in this way at numerous locations throughout the city. The planters, arrayed every few feet along the edge of the esplanade as a buffer for the passing traffic, were filled with soil, flowers and other plants and were too heavy for one person alone to budge.

But with all of the reported instances of accidents where motor vehicles come onto a sidewalk and striking pedestrians, can people really feel relaxed being that close to moving traffic? For instance, on March 25, 2007, one taxicab crashed into another at Avenue of the Americas and 53rd Street, starting a domino effect that left five taxis damaged and sent two pedestrians to the hospital.

On October 8, 2007, an out-of-control taxicab ran onto a crowded sidewalk outside a midtown restaurant, killing a man and injuring two others with a broken leg and a broken arm.

On April 11, 2008, a car hurtled up the courthouse stairs at the Supreme Court, New York County courthouse seen often in “Law & Order,” injuring six people. Hours later, a pedestrian was hit by a taxi across the street just yards away.

The lawyers at Levine & Slavit have decades of experience getting results for our clients, including personal injury claims of pedestrians injured by negligently operated motor vehicles. We have offices in Manhattan and Long Island, handling cases in New York City, the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens and surrounding areas. To learn more, contact the personal injury lawyers at Levine & Slavit for their help, or watch our videos.

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