A prominent Minneapolis artist was recently killed in a crash on I-94. Kirk Washington, Jr.’s art and writing was heralded for tackling tough issues such as racism and income inequality. According to the Star Tribune, Washington was killed when a car crossed a median and pushed his car into the path of a Metro Transit Bus.
The accident raises questions about Minneapolis’s infrastructure and whether the city is doing enough to design and construct roads so that they prevent serious accidents like this from happening. According to the Star Tribune, the site where the accident took place had a concrete barrier. However, the barrier was later removed to increase visibility for eastbound cars. Yet, when the barrier was removed, more accidents took place.
This is not the first time the city has torn down protective barriers. In October of 2015, the city decided to remove pedestrian medians, effectively costing the city $40,000. The medians were removed due to complaints that cars had difficulty turning and that snow plow workers couldn’t do their job. Yet, did the city do the right thing in removing the barriers? Is the safety of pedestrians less important than drivers’ convenience?
Many critics claim that the removal of the barriers reflects a bias toward drivers that puts pedestrians and bicyclists in harm’s way. Personal injury lawyers see far too many cases where bicyclists or pedestrians were injured by drivers who received no serious penalties for the accident. In some cases, the only way for bikers and pedestrians to protect their rights is to seek out personal injury lawsuits.
The pedestrian medians were installed in the wake of calls to improve roadway safety for both bikers and pedestrians. Yet, the city removed the already-installed medians without speaking to the community.
In the case of the recent accident that killed a much-loved artist, the city has talked about fixing the roadways to meet the needs of all users. But for some road users, the changes come too late. In 2015, the city had planned to re-build the barrier it had removed on I-95. It is unclear whether the accident would have taken place had a barrier been present.
It seems that the city needs to do a better job coordinating design of medians and work on its implementation of new changes. Doing so would not only save lives, but would also save the city money it has spent tearing out medians.
If you’ve been in an auto accident in Minneapolis, Minnesota, you may be entitled to seek compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages, and rehabilitation costs. The law offers you a range of legal protections when it comes to seeking a fair recovery from insurers and negligent parties. In some cases, you may even be able to seek compensation from the city if roads were not maintained safely.
The Law Office of Martin T. Montilino is a personal injury attorney who helps victims and families seek the justice they deserve.