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Temporary barricades still in place one year after accident

Accidents that involve a car striking a pedestrian can lead to serious or fatal injuries. In locations where pedestrians and traffic are in close quarters, local governments have an obligation to keep everyone as safe as possible. Our Houston readers will be interested to learn that one Texas city has taken steps to protect pedestrians from this type of car accident, but some believe the city has not done enough.

In may 2012, two pedestrians who were walking under the Lamar Boulevard bridge on Cesar Chavez were struck by a car that failed to negotiate a turn in the road. An 80-year-old retired colonel was killed and a 47-year-old college professor was seriously injured. A 22-year-old man pleaded guilty to two counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and was sentenced to five years in prison for each count. After the accident, Austin officials determined that safety precautions needed to be taken and installed temporary barricades.

Now, over a year after the accident that killed one person and injured another, the temporary barricades are still in place. According to authorities, it could be several more months to a year before a permanent barricade is installed.

According to a representative of the Austin Department of Public Works, the temporary barricades are safe, but there are two specific reasons why permanent barricades have not been installed. One reason is that since where the barricades would need to be installed is park land, the city does not have the jurisdiction to make changes. Design is also an issue. The city wants to create something that is more than just a traditional barricade.

Although the temporary barricades are a good start, the city has acknowledged that the orange barrels are a short-term solution. If anyone else is injured or killed at that location, victims could consider taking legal action against the city for not providing a safer, more permanent barricade. A victim's case would be further strengthened considering the city acknowledges there is an issue, but has yet to act on it as well as they could. Successful litigation for the victim could include compensation for medical expenses, pain and suffering and lost wages due to recovery time after the accident.

Source:, "Permanent barriers still not built 1 year after deadly trail accident" Kris Betts, Aug. 06, 2013

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