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Pennsylvania school intersection endangering pedestrians?

If a trend of danger is evident, a community might want to do something to fix that danger, right? The community of and around the University of Pennsylvania is looking at a busy intersection near the school and asking whether safety improvements are needed, maybe even past-due.

Yesterday, a student was crossing the intersection of 38th and Spruce when her walk was interrupted by a crash. A driver reportedly turned and hit her, missing various other walkers who were also crossing with the pedestrian accident victim.

The Daily Pennsylvanian reports that the student didn't sustain serious injuries. The most pressing concern is that yesterday's pedestrian accident was one of several in the last couple of months alone. Five motor vehicle accidents at the same intersection have sent six crash victims to the hospital.

Would you call five crashes in two months a sign of necessary change? Some in the student-packed Pennsylvania community are pressing for change. Among the suggested changes are adding traffic officers at the dangerous intersection. Another suggestion is for those officers to be able to more harshly punish drivers who drive carelessly at the location.

Reckless drivers must be held accountable, but if there is continued risk at the traffic location and the government never does anything to address it, residents and victims from the area could want to see justice at the state level as well. A past safety study of the intersection came up with several recommendations to increase safety. Only one of those recommendations has been enacted at the site: pedestrian countdown signals.

Though pedestrian countdown signals are a wise safety measure, they don't take away from the reality that sometimes drivers don't respect pedestrians' rights to the road. If the early reports of yesterday's accident are true, the driver made an illegal turn in order to try to speed through the intersection before allowing the pedestrians to cross. The crash victim paid for the driver's impatience.

Source: The Daily Pennsylvanian, "Another student hit at 38th and Spruce streets," Harrison Fallon, April 23, 2013

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