January 22, I planned to meet my colleagues for lunch but I never
made it across Walnut Street. A car ran a red light and headed
towards me in the crosswalk. I almost evaded the car but, unfortunately,
the corner of the car's front bumper struck my leg. The crash
broke the two bones in my lower right leg (open tibia-fibula fracture).
I was rushed by ambulance to HUP and then to surgery where Dr.
John Esterhai implanted a permanent titanium rod in my leg. The
following Friday, I was released from HUP, walking on crutches
and in good spirits, thanks to the many people who visited with
me in person, by phone and e-mail and the excellent care I received.
The driver of the car that struck me was apprehended and placed
into custody. UPPD is pursuing criminal prosecution.
I am happy
that justice is being sought but I am more interested in working
to prevent future pedestrian injuries at Penn. This is not the
first such incident at this (and many other) intersections near
Penn. I got off relatively lightly; other victims have died at
the very intersection where I was struck. It is time for the pedestrians
in the area to stake their claim of partial ownership of the streets.
Right now, drivers have few real restrictions on their movement.
Even in areas with heavy pedestrian traffic, like on our campus,
the cars have sole ownership of the streets.
well aware of the problems and, to their credit, has taken steps
to improve pedestrian safety. Maureen Rush, Penn's VP for Public
Safety, outlined a few of the many programs underway when she
visited me at HUP: increased enforcement, a speeding awareness
trailer, and the "Live-Stop Program" through which approximately
400 motorists were stopped and their vehicles confiscated for
driving unlicensed or unregistered vehicles in the last two years.
to enforce traffic laws are necessary but not sufficient. We need
to focus on prevention and this will require environmental changes
favoring pedestrians. Some traffic-calming efforts will take time
and planning, but others, such as adding traffic lights and traffic
light cycles that have pedestrian-only periods, can and should
be implemented immediately.
Winston, CSE '80, CIS '83
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