Pedestrian Accidents Still a Problem in Pittsburgh


Making Our Streets More Pedestrian Friendly

Every year, hundreds of Pittsburghers are injured or killed simply by crossing the street. Between 2006 and 2013 alone, 40 pedestrians died as a result of fatal car crashes. Even with initiatives and redevelopment projects geared toward making crossing the street safer, the issue has not subsided.

Two major reasons cited for this problem are Pittsburgh's complex landscape and a limited budget. With Pittsburgh situated in the midst of hilly terrain and three rivers, developing safer roads for pedestrians has proven to be a headache for traffic engineers. Lack of funds is also an issue. Though the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) installs equipment to make dangerous intersections safer, it's the local government's responsibility to maintain these structures. With the city budget under state supervision, funds from Pittsburgh's already spread-thin finances may be difficult to obtain.

There are several other factors that may be delaying the development of more pedestrian-friendly roads. One is a growing population, which puts a burden on Pittsburgh's roads and intersection networks. Though more people may be cramming into the city, Pittsburgh still does not have a very large police force. Because the top priority of the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police is to respond to 911 calls, there is not enough manpower to regulate dangerous intersections and constantly enforce traffic laws. Another issue is that the police, PennDOT, and the Department of Public Works are all responsible for pedestrian safety, and coordinating improvements as well as distinguishing between each of the agencies' roles has proven challenging.

Nevertheless, major steps have been taken towards making crosswalks safer. The three-way intersection along the corner of Fifth Avenue and Aiken Avenue, formerly known as one of the city's most dangerous intersections, has seen major improvements. Last summer, city officials had one crosswalk repainted, relocated another, and decided to add countdown timers to the pedestrian traffic signals. Some are saying, however, that these improvements are being made too slowly.

Though it may be a long time coming, major upgrades for similar problematic intersections are on the horizon. Over the course of the next 2 years, PennDOT has planned a massive upgrade for East Carson Street, an area of Pittsburgh infamous for pedestrian, motorcycle, and car accidents. The $4 million reserved for improvements will go towards creating pedestrian-friendly curbs, repainting crosswalks, upgrading signals, and re-paving the roads. Other plans include $900,000 to improve East Ohio Street on the North Side and $90,000 allocated to Forbes Avenue in Oakland.

Though pedestrian accidents may be an ongoing issue in Pittsburgh, more efforts are being made to prevent such incidents. Additionally, there are ways to ensure that you keep yourself and other pedestrians as safe as possible. Visit our Pedestrian Safety Tips page for more information.

Were You a Pedestrian Injured By a Car?

Even with safety improvements, careless drivers make roads, intersections, and crosswalks dangerous. If you or your loved one were the victim of a pedestrian accident, you may have a case.

Contact us at 412-394-1000 for a free legal consultation. We'll answer your questions and determine if you have a case. There's no fee to speak with our legal professionals and no obligation to use our services, so reach out to us today.

Source: “It’s still not always safe to cross the street.” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. August 24, 2014.