Safety along Humboldt Parkway should be evaluated in the wake of a recent car crash, the second in less than two years in which a vehicle plunged through the guardrails and dropped onto the Kensington Expressway 25 or 30 feet below.
Community members are understandably upset over what they feel has been a lack of attention to a potential danger zone.
They believe an accident last week could have been avoided had safety measures been in place. As difficult as such assumptions are to verify, the circumstances warrant examination.
The driver survived the crash. That wasn’t the case in April 2014, when a 47-year-old man was killed when his speeding vehicle crashed through the exact Humboldt Parkway guardrails just two blocks away from last week’s crash.
Neighbors and Shannon Waddell-Brown, estranged wife of Kevin W. Brown, who was killed in the 2014 crash at Humboldt Parkway and Woodlawn Avenue, have been shaken by this latest incident. Again, understandable. They have drawn comparisons to a not-too-distant tragedy on the Scajaquada Expressway in which a 3-year-old boy was killed by a vehicle that left the road and entered Delaware Park.
Comparisons to the quick response by state workers at the governor’s behest to install signs reducing the expressway’s speed limit from 50 mph to 30 to the situation on Humboldt have elicited comments about uneven treatment. Such accusations are often rooted in historic systemic injustice and seen from the viewpoint of race and socioeconomic status. We get it.
However, it should be noted that there were many people who warned of the speeds on the Scajaquada, and the tendency of drivers to accelerate so close to the park. Then the unimaginable occurred. Yes, the speed limit was lowered and, yes, there is now vociferous opposition to that action, which many feel was knee-jerk. Discussion continues on what to do about expressway traffic that still wants to go faster while some in the community want it further slowed to a pedestrian-friendly parkway pace.
When it comes to safety on Humboldt Parkway and the Kensington below, the matter needs to be addressed. The people living near and around these roadways must be involved and included in any decision-making.
Let’s make all of our roads safe.