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Zoning and Motor Vehicle Accidents

The relationship between zoning ordinances and traffic patterns might not be the first thing that comes to mind when considering the factors which contribute to a motor vehicle accident. A recent article in the Philadelphia Inquirer shows that zoning can play a huge part in the likelihood of motor vehicle accidents in a given location. The article focuses on Street Road in Bensalem, which contains an intersection that Time magazine dubbed the most dangerous intersection in the country in 2014.

Heavy development started on the stretch of Street Road between I-95 and Route 1 in the middle of the last century. Lax zoning laws at that time resulted in close driveways and cross-streets, along with mixed and inconsistent property uses in close proximity. The resulting traffic patterns, combined with a heavy volume of fast-paced cars traveling on Street Road, result in frequent abrupt stops and turns to enter and exit businesses on the four lane road. This abrupt stopping and braking has contributed to a high number of rear-end accidents.

Regardless of the current status of development along a stretch of road, all drivers have a duty to maintain control of their vehicle by being alert, paying attention, and being able to stop in a safe manner. This includes driving at a speed that will permit a driver to stop their vehicle within a safe distance of vehicles and pedestrians ahead of them.

Current zoning regulations and ordinances attempt to ensure that a development plan is followed to maintain safety– including traffic and pedestrian safety— in a designated area. For questions concerning zoning matters in Pennsylvania or New Jersey, contact partner Paul Schultz at (215) 567-1530 or (856) 273-6679. Our attorneys are also experienced in representing individuals injured in motor vehicle accidents. Contact partner Christopher Fleming for a Pennsylvania matter (215) 567-1530. For an accident in New Jersey, call (856) 273-6679 and ask to speak with partner Greg Sciolla.


Published January 31, 2017

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