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Is the Times Square pedestrian plaza preventing accidents?

Manhattan is host to millions of people every day, and many of them are on the move. The high volume of drivers, bikers and pedestrians provides for a vibrant city, yet it also creates the potential for a variety of motor vehicle accidents. As such, New York leaders are usually trying to find ways to protect the safety of everyone on the road.

The decision to create a pedestrian plaza at Times Square has drawn a lot of opinions, but Mayor Michael Bloomberg recently praised this effort's success. The idea is that by cutting out traffic, fewer accidents will occur and pedestrians will be safer. Bloomberg commented that, as planned, accident rates have dropped.

Bloomberg went further to say that pedestrian-friendly plazas are being considered for other parts of the city, but future plans depend on the impact changes would have on traffic and congestion.

Even though supporters cite success, others have provided criticism. There are suggestions that the current arrangement should be modified. One candidate for mayor believes that the pedestrian plazas should be flexible spaces that would be put in place based on traffic patterns.

The question remains: What is truly best for the safety of pedestrians? At this point, it’s unclear if more will be done to prevent pedestrian injuries in New York during the coming years.

City officials can make efforts to expose pedestrians to less danger, but none of that will change the fact that drivers are ultimately responsible for their conduct road. Failing to yield to pedestrians and causing a serious accident could be construed as negligence.

Source: CapitalNewYork.com, "Bloomberg defends pedestrian plazas from candidate skepticism," Sally Goldenberg and Reid Pillifant, Oct. 24, 2013

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