Today’s Headlines

  • Turning Truck Driver Kills Elise Lachowyn, 44, By Javits Center; Victim Blamed for Wearing Hood (Post)
  • DOT to Widen Sidewalk Where Tenzin Drudak Was Killed, Shrink Sidewalk on Other Side of Street (DNA)
  • Con-Ed, National Grid Want MTA to Pay for Relocating Utilities for Second Ave Subway (Post)
  • Calatrava: $4 Billion WTC PATH Station a “Message of Love to the City” (Post)
  • Eric Adams, Riders Alliance Call for Free Transfers Between Junius/Livonia Stations in Brownsville (NY1)
  • An R Train Derailed Between 14th Street and 23rd Street Saturday Night (News)
  • Port Greenlights Two Big Airport Projects and LaGuardia AirTrain Isn’t One of Them (Politico)
  • Moving? You Can Pay the Cargo Bike Collective to Haul Your Stuff (NYT)
  • MTA/TWU Have a Plan to Get Station Agents Out of Booths Again (News)
  • Line Maps on the 2 and 5 Get a New Look (2nd Ave Sagas, NY1)

More headlines at Streetsblog USA

Streetsblog will be publishing lightly in observance of Presidents Day and back to normal tomorrow.

  • Pat

    I am certainly not saying the driver was blameless, I was not trying to blame the pedestrian. I was responding to a post that insinuated the pedestrian had the right of way, and I asked how we know that. That led to your response and our exchange where it seems the pedestrian can never be more at fault than the driver.
    I certainly don’t know enough information about this case to point blame.

  • fdtutf

    The rest of us do, at least based on the media reports. Andrew explained it in detail here. What don’t you understand?

    That led to your response and our exchange where it seems the pedestrian can never be more at fault than the driver.

    If I understand the law correctly, the driver has a legal obligation to yield the right of way to pedestrians where applicable, and the driver also has a legal obligation to exercise due care to avoid colliding with pedestrians in all cases, no matter who has the right of way. So it’s actually difficult to conceive of a case where the pedestrian would be more at fault, legally, than the driver. In that sense, your understanding of the discussion was correct.

  • Alicia

    Because there’s a difference between truly unforeseeable accidents and negligence. Most traffic injuries or fatalities involve at least one party being negligent in some way.

  • Pat

    If I understand the law correctly, the pedestrian also has a legal obligation to yield.
    But I am certainly not a legal expert, and I don’t know that anyone else posting here is either.

  • Pat

    Thank you, you may be right but I don’t think that explains how driving is like firing a gun.

  • Brian Howald

    http://ypdcrime.com/vt/article24.htm#t1111

    In New York, crossing against the light at an intersection is prohibited, as well as crossing between two signaled intersections. At most other locations (i.e. not highways or streets with center dividers), a pedestrian may cross, but must yield to traffic when not crossing at a crosswalk.

    When crossing at a signaled intersection, a pedestrian has the right of way when beginning crossing before the light changes from ‘walk’ to a flashing ‘don’t walk’. Any vehicles seeking to turn through the crosswalk must yield to any pedestrians who began crossing while the light said ‘walk’. Additionally, at any unsignaled intersection, drivers must yield to pedestrians seeking to cross the street. This is true regardless of whether there are marked crosswalks, as all intersections have unmarked crosswalks at the continuation lines of their sidewalks, except where crossing is explicitly prohibited.

    If someone could explain to me why I, as a pedestrian, need to wait for vehicles to pass at an intersection where there is no stop sign present, given that pedestrians have the right of way at all unsignaled intersections, I would greatly appreciate it.

  • Miles Bader

    Perhaps it is, I don’t know. My point is only that it needn’t be, and probably shouldn’t be.

  • Andrew

    But that isn’t the law, and it wouldn’t be a particularly meaningful law. Nor would it be a particularly useful law. We have laws primarily to protect people against others’ misdeeds, not to protect people from themselves.

  • Andrew

    If I fire a gun carelessly, I might kill someone inadvertently. If I drive a car carelessly, I might kill someone inadvertently.

    Neither case is an accident, even if I didn’t intend to kill. I chose to use a tool that has the capacity to kill in a careless fashion, and therefore I’m responsible for the outcome of my carelessness.

  • Andrew

    Given the facts as reported, I can’t think of a scenario in which the motorist is not at fault, in part or in full. Apparently you can’t either. So what’s your concern?

  • Andrew

    Absolutely not! The idea doesn’t even make sense – two parties cannot possibly be expected to yield to each other.

    Forget pedestrians for a minute. If you’re driving a car straight along a two-way street, and I come along driving in the opposite direction wishing to make a left turn, I’m required to yield to you – that is, if my turning left interferes with your ability to go straight (without your changing course or speed), I have to wait for you to go first. If I fail to do so and our cars collide, I’m at fault for failing to yield.

    The same exact language applies to turning motorists yielding to pedestrians: “Vehicular traffic facing such [green] signals may proceed straight through or turn right or left unless a sign at such place prohibits any such movement. But vehicular traffic, including vehicles turning right or left, shall yield the right of way to other vehicles and to pedestrians lawfully within the intersection or an adjacent crosswalk at the time such signal is exhibited.” And then it’s spelled out again in the section on pedestrian control signals: “Pedestrians facing such [walk] signal may proceed across the roadway in the direction of the signal in any crosswalk. Vehicular traffic shall yield the right of way to such pedestrians.”

    If a motorist is making a turn that conflicts with pedestrians legally in a crosswalk, the motorist waits and the pedestrians go. Period. There is no ambiguity whatsoever in the language of the law.

  • ahwr

    If someone could explain to me why I, as a pedestrian, need to wait for vehicles to pass at an intersection where there is no stop sign present, given that pedestrians have the right of way at all unsignaled intersections, I would greatly appreciate it.

    http://ypdcrime.com/vt/article27.htm

    (b) No pedestrian shall suddenly leave a curb or other place of safety and walk or run into the path of a vehicle which is so close that it is impractical for the driver to yield.

    What counts as “impractical for the driver to yield”?

  • Alicia

    Well, then you can go back and read until you get it. I have no intention of repeating a point that has already been made.

  • Alexander Vucelic

    thank you Andrew for explaining the gun vs. car analogy for Pat

  • Andrew

    If you’re going to cite clause (b), don’t forget to cite clause (a): “When traffic-control signals are not in place or not in operation the driver of a vehicle shall yield the right of way, slowing down or stopping if need be to so yield, to a pedestrian crossing the roadway within a crosswalk on the roadway upon which the vehicle is traveling, except that any pedestrian crossing a roadway at a point where a pedestrian tunnel or overpass has been provided shall yield the right of way to all vehicles.” The proviso that you cited refers specifically to crosswalks without traffic control signals. It does not refer to turns at green lights, which are covered here:

    http://ypdcrime.com/vt/article24.htm#t1111 – “Traffic, except pedestrians, facing a steady circular green signal may proceed straight through or turn right or left unless a sign at such place prohibits either such turn. Such traffic, including when turning right or left, shall yield the right of way to other traffic lawfully within the intersection or an adjacent crosswalk at the time such signal is exhibited.”

    http://ypdcrime.com/vt/article24.htm#t1112 – “Steady WALK or walking person. Pedestrians facing such signal may proceed across the roadway in the direction of the signal and shall be given the right of way by other traffic.”

    Incidentally, since we’re discussing New York City, don’t forget about this (which has analogous clauses with similar language): http://www.nyc.gov/html/dot/downloads/pdf/trafrule.pdf

  • Pat

    I was actually just being polite. I don’t really care what you think it means, I was asking Alexander Vucelic, the person who posted the statement.

  • Pat

    So driving is like firing a gun because both are dangerous when used recklessly.
    I see, I guess I was expecting something deep, i get it, thank you.
    I am still confused as to why the word accidentally is in quotes.

  • Pat

    Safety?

  • Alexander Vucelic

    driving 45 in a 25 and killing someone Is not a oppsie it’s negligent homicide

  • Pat

    I agree.

  • Pat

    The question was,
    Why is the word accidentally in quotes?

  • fdtutf

    To yield the right of way where applicable, yes. To exercise due care, no.

  • Brian Howald

    I understand why I can’t step out of a vehicle that cannot physically stop in time to avoid hitting me.

    I’m asking about the situation where I am at an uncontrolled intersection, attempting to cross a street that has no stop sign at the intersection, and a vehicle 200 feet away is approaching at the posted speed limit. In my opinion, NY State law dictates that a driver who can stop, must stop for me, despite the fact that s/he has no sign indicating the need to stop.

    However, if you should ever attempt to cross a street like this, 21st Street in Queens, Franklin Avenue in Brooklyn, really, any large street that has many uncontrolled intersections with smaller streets, no vehicle will stop for you, even if they physically can, because they do not understand the legal obligation to yield at any unsignaled intersection to crossing pedestrians.

  • Brian Howald

    You asked about the law. I summarized the law. Are you suggesting that following the law isn’t enough to ensure the safety of all users?

  • Andrew

    If only we gave drivers an incentive to follow the law.

  • Andrew

    A pedestrian entering the crosswalk on the walk signal never has an obligation to yield.

  • Alicia

    And you got an answer for that question.

    Are you here to actually get an answer, or to troll?

  • Pat

    Alicia, please feel free to ignore me, I am asking questions because I am interested in the answer from the person I ask.
    I have three children, I am very interested in safer streets, that is how I got here, not to troll.

  • Pat

    I was not, but I actually do believe that is true. The law can’t make somebody see you, even if you are in the crosswalk with the light in your favor, people do make mistakes.
    I feel that I have made you think I am trying to debate this topic, I am not, I agree that many People drive in an unsafe manor, and although I believe cyclists and pedestrians do as well, drivers must bare the majority of the responsibility for safety, mostly because vehicles do so much damage, but sometimes it’s not their fault.

    I believe the best way to make the streets safer is by enforcing the law on a regular basis, not just when someone is hurt or a once year ticket blitz. Also through education, that is where some European countries blow us away. They set a high bar to pass the driving test, and they teach children how to be safe when walking and cycling.

    I would like to see legislation for more speed and red light cameras and perhaps other types of cameras to make intersections safer.
    Vision Zero has not done much considering the effort put into it, they mean well but are going about wrong.

    I am also confused bout the crosswalk laws, it seems the city and state contradict each other.

  • fdtutf

    The law can’t make somebody see you, even if you are in the crosswalk with the light in your favor, people do make mistakes.

    No motorist who is exercising due care can fail to see a person who is directly in front of him or her, given decent lighting conditions. Darkness, real darkness, is obviously another matter. But many cases like this don’t happen in darkness.

    I agree that many People drive in an unsafe manor,

    Stately Wayne Manor? 😉

    I believe the best way to make the streets safer is by enforcing the law on a regular basis, not just when someone is hurt or a once year ticket blitz.

    *applause*

  • Brian Howald

    I apologize for the combative tone. I think we’re in agreement on all points.

    I agree that people do make mistakes, and Vision Zero is about reducing the effects of mistakes, however, much of the driver behavior in this city is not due to people making mistakes, but rather people disregarding the law, or driving ignorant of it. NYSDMV does not test drivers of their knowledge of driving laws with respect to pedestrians or cyclists and our city’s police force does not enforce these laws. While design is the most important component in ensuring default compliance, there is certainly a role for education and enforcement that is being ignored in New York.

    Edit: What contradiction are you referring to?

  • Pat

    No motorist who is exercising due care

    Yes, that would be the part where it is a mistake.

  • fdtutf

    Failure to exercise due care is not just a mistake. It’s a crime.

  • fdtutf

    Nor did I say or imply otherwise. That’s what “where applicable” means.

  • Pat

    What is your point? I replied that safety was a reason to yield to vehicles.

  • fdtutf

    My point is, obviously, that your characterization of failure to yield as a “mistake” trivializes it.

  • Andrew

    I wasn’t disagreeing with you.

  • fdtutf

    It sounded like you were correcting me. Glad we’re in agreement.

  • Pat

    If your point was obvious I wouldn’t have asked.
    I didn’t trivialize anything, I said people make mistakes, my meaning was obvious.