Brittany Knight, a 16 year-old high school sophomore, was killed on Thursday, June 16, 2016 along Interstate 787 in the City of Cohoes. The young pedestrian was attempting to cross the street at the intersection of Bridge Avenue and I-787 in Cohoes, when she was struck by a vehicle late at night. The small community of Cohoes has been mourning her death and cannot help but be shaken by this tragedy.
Brittany is not the first pedestrian to lose her life crossing I-787 in this particular area. In 2014, Nayla Jordan, a 53-year-old Cohoes woman, was struck and killed by a vehicle as she tried to cross 787, just one block south from the intersection where Brittany was killed. Shawn Morse, Mayor of Cohoes, said he can recall at least three people who have been killed at the intersection of 787 and Bridge Street in the last three years. Cohoes schools: Sophomore killed in I-787 wreck, Time Union (June 17, 2016). As he stated at a public news conference, “787 is a problem and it’s got to be addressed.” Id. He went on to say, “running a highway through the middle of your city is dangerous . . . we need to reexamine it.” Id.
After Brittany’s loss on Thursday, residents of Cohoes voiced their demand for a pedestrian bridge to be built over 787, in order to prevent these tragic accidents. On Sunday afternoon, people gathered at West End Park and sought signatures for their petition from drivers passing by. Although these pedestrian accidents occurred in Cohoes, Mayor Shawn Morse believes this portion of the highway is the state’s responsibility to keep safe. Id. Since the accident, the Department of Transportation has spoken with Mayor Morse about this issue and future discussions about safety have been planned.
As history has shown, the crosswalk in this area has been ineffective in preventing pedestrian accidents. Residential neighborhoods can be found just a couple of blocks away from these deadly intersections. Building a pedestrian bridge over I-787 would provide a safer means of traveling for all pedestrians. The State could prevent future walkers, runners, and bicyclists crossing I-787 from suffering personal injuries or death.
For those who decide to walk, run, or bike in order to commute to work, exercise, run errands, etc., we encourage you to be cautious and use all safety measures available to keep yourself and other pedestrians safe from personal injury caused by vehicles. As a pedestrian, you’re in a vulnerable position and at greater risk of injury than passengers in a vehicle. In 2013, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention reported that 150,000 pedestrians were treated in emergency departments for non-fatal crash-related injuries. If you have been injured by a vehicle as a pedestrian, you may want to consider hiring a pedestrian accident lawyer to file a personal injury law suit on your behalf.
At LaMarche Safranko, we strongly advocate for pedestrians and families of pedestrians who are injured or killed as a result of being struck by an automobile.