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John F. Kennedy Boulevard may need an updated design for safety

A recent fatality on John F. Kennedy Boulevard may highlight the need to rethink the design of this major roadway. A 43-year-old man getting into his car after leaving a doctor's appointment was struck and killed by a Ford F-350 pickup truck. The driver of the truck also struck a parked car after hitting the man, damaging two additional vehicles. The cause of the accident is still being investigated.

Residents say accidents on J.F.K. Boulevard in New Jersey are common. One resident reported that a boy was struck just two weeks prior to this one. Also, in early March, two teenagers were hit in North Bergen, a 5-year-old boy was hit by an SUV in Bayonne, and a woman was hit crossing the boulevard in Jersey City.

First called "Hudson Boulevard," when the building plans were reported in 1873 in the New York Times, the width of the highway was proposed to be 150 feet. Back in the day, represented prestige and power. Now iit appears that the wide road is a recipe for tragedies.

Residents claim that they do not feel safe on it. One resident said that after dark, the road is like a race track. His wife called the boulevard a "drag strip" and said the lights remain green across multiple blocks, providing leeway for faster speeds.

When multiple auto or pedestrian accidents occur on the same road, or in the same area over time, the county or state should investigate to see what can be done to reduce hazards. In this instance, the Hudson County Sheriff's department has initiated what they are calling "Operation Slow Down, Save Lives." In addition to a robust enforcement of traffic laws, they are working to educate both pedestrians and drivers on safe travel practices.

There may be other steps the county can take, such as changing the rotation of lights or adding speed bumps. In some cases, a county or state can be held responsible when they were aware of safety hazards and corrections that could have been made, and they neglected to do so.

Source: Hudson Reporter, "Is J.F.K. Boulevard safe?," Rory Pasquariello, May 04, 2016

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