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Raquel Nelson Update, Learning from NYC, and the True Cost of a Crosswalk

August 8, 2011

Thought I would offer up a brief update to the Raquel Nelson situation and a few things that have been learned along the way.

Apparently she has elected to have a new trial to hopefully wipe her name clean.  I am hoping that someone over in Cobb County’s judicial system has picked up a legal book in the past few weeks and will choose to not take this back to court and waste more time and money trying to convict this woman.  Regardless, she is now armed with a pretty damn good lawyer, Steve Sadow, (see T.I. and Howard K. Stern) as he has taken on this case pro bono. 

Second order of business; maybe Cobb County should take a look at how things are done elsewhere so they know how to properly treat someone who decides to drink, drug, and hit and run.  I personally am not the biggest fan of people who say “Well that’s not how we did it in ________” (fill in the blank with any northeastern city you choose), but I am pretty sure they got this one right.  Driver was drinking, hit a pedestrian and left her in a vegetative state, and the driver will now serve a minimum of a year and third, and possibly up to 4 years in prison.  I think it should be longer, but I don’t write the laws, and at least its better than 6 months for a guy who had two hit and runs in one day.

Lastly, when I was in college I had the pleasure of working on a pedestrian bridge design.  It was for an intersection rather similar to the one Raquel Nelson and dozens of others cross everyday.  It probably had a larger traffic flow, and was equipped with a crosswalk, but it was dangerous none the less.  Five lanes, speed limit in excess of 45 mph, and multiple close calls for pedestrians.  The pedestrian bridge project was purely conceptual and my professor stated that it would always be a concept for the following reason…”For someone (government, responsible agency) to take action it needs to be more than close calls.  There has to be multiple deaths.  The first death is a warning.  The second will warrant a study, and possibly a delayed solution.  A third will warrant immediate action.”  And if you do enough research, particularly on pedestrian deaths, its true.  Often times requiring more than 3 deaths for any change to take place.  So that is apparently the cost of adding a crosswalk or at least some flashing lights since the GDOT is claiming there isn’t enough money to improve the area.  But hey we have to have priorities, and road widening projects in rural and suburban areas are much more important.  We cant expect those suburbanites to use a two lane road to escape their mundane repetitive environment that is their life.  That same professor went on to say that enough media attention will also cause some change.  I’m thinking we need to get that Commuter Dude from 11 Alive to annoy them.  From what I have seen on television he does a damn good job.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Loretta Williams permalink
    August 26, 2011 9:22 pm

    I am Loretta Williams the Aunt of Raquel Nelson and would like the aurthor of this article to contact me. please leave me a contact message to get in touch with you

    • UrbanCommuter permalink*
      August 27, 2011 7:34 pm

      Ms. Williams, I have sent you an email. You may need to check your spam to make sure you received it.

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