A New Law Increases Traffic Safety In NYC And Benefits Local Real Estate

A new landmark court ruling allows traffics victims to sue the city for damages.

By Jeff Vasishta January 10, 2017

If you get injured in a traffic accident on NYC’s streets, you now have someone to point the finger at. NYC’s Court of Appeals ruled that the City can now be held liable for reckless driving and traffic injuries.

The landmark ruling stems from a 2004 crash. A 12 year-old boy on a bike was struck in Brooklyn by a car traveling at 54 miles per hour. The speed limit in that zone 30 mph zone. The boy, Anthony Turturro, received $20 million in damages. Despite the City’s appeal, the court upheld the award. What proved a winning hand for Turturro’s lawyers was documented proof that Gerritsen residents had asked the City on numerous occasions to install a number of safety measures along the street—which they described as a “racetrack”.

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The ruling makes sense not only for safety reasons, but because NYC has modernized and updated itself in so many other areas. Crime is down, green buildings and dedicated bike lanes are up. Safe streets fit NYC’s new ecologically sound, family friendly brand. The City attempted to keep this in mind with its Vision Zero initiative, aimed at decreasing traffic accidents. Narrowing increasing stop lights, pedestrian crossings, and cycling initiatives all help to slow the traffic flow.

From a real estate perspective, it makes perfect sense, too. People prefer pedestrian friendly cities. One of the worst stretches of road in NYC for traffic fatalities also happens to be an area of rampant gentrification. In Northern Boulevard and Woodside dozens of people have been killed or hurt in traffic accidents in the last few years.

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Last year, the city took measures to improve traffic safety, building more than a dozen pedestrian islands. It also installed crosswalks and banned left turns at some intersections. Northern Boulevard is a “priority corridor” under Mayor de Blasio’s Vision Zero plan.

Manhattan prides itself on being one of the most walkable big places on the planet. But it still has a way to go to catch up to being as bike friendly as Copenhagen or Amsterdam. In fact, NYC doesn’t even feature in the top 20. Being foot AND bike friendly—is that asking too much?

Jeff Vasishta



Jeff is a writer, husband and father but not necessarily in that order. As a music journalist he counts Prince, Beyonce and Quincy Jones amongst those he’s interviewed. He's also owned and flipped homes in Brooklyn, NJ, CT and PA.

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