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‘Needless loss of life:’ Working to Avoid Pedestrian Deaths in NYC Region

By Zachary Stieber
Epoch Times Staff
Created: February 25, 2013 Last Updated: February 27, 2013
Related articles: United States » New York City
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Locations of pedestrian deaths between 2009 and 2011 in Manhattan. (Tri-State Transportation Campaign)

Locations of pedestrian deaths between 2009 and 2011 in Manhattan. (Tri-State Transportation Campaign)

Pedestrians cross Broadway on Monday. (Deborah Yun/The Epoch Times)

Pedestrians cross Broadway on Monday. (Deborah Yun/The Epoch Times)

NEW YORK—Pedestrians: Keep an eye out for cars. Especially if you are on Broadway. 

Broadway, which snakes from southern tip of Manhattan through the top of the island (with a small break) is the second most dangerous road in the tri-state region, behind Hempstead Turnpike in Nassau County, according to a new report from the Tri-State Transportation Campaign. Nine people died on Broadway between 2009 and 2011, the years studied in the report.

In total, 451 pedestrians were killed during these three years across the five boroughs, according to the report.

The most deaths in New York City occurred in Brooklyn (132), with Queens (125) close behind. In Manhattan over the three-year period, 93 pedestrians died from being hit by a vehicle. 

(Tri-State Transportation Campaign)

(Tri-State Transportation Campaign)

Most of the deaths occurred on arterial roads, which have two or more lanes and speed limits usually 40 miles per hour or higher. In the three years studied, 1,242 pedestrians lost their lives in downstate New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut. Nearly 60 percent of the deaths were on arterial roads. 

“Arterials were traditionally designed to move vehicles from one destination to the next without regard for other road users like pedestrians and bicyclists,” said Renata Silberblatt, report author and staff analyst with the campaign, in a statement. “We continue to see that designing roads like this results in needless loss of life.”

Paul Steely White, executive director of walking, bicycling, and public transportation advocacy group Transportation Alternatives, said it was alarming that the city’s major arterial streets are so dangerous for pedestrians and bicyclists. 

“New Yorkers need safe and convenient access to the businesses that populate these major streets to keep the wheels of our economy turning,” he said in a statement. 

Steely White said it’s imperative that the next mayor will help keep New Yorkers safe.

A chart of the top 10 most dangerous roads, 2009 through 2011. (Tri-State Transportation Campaign)

A chart of the top 10 most dangerous roads, 2009 through 2011. (Tri-State Transportation Campaign)

At the same time, there have been improvements, the campaign notes. The most dangerous roadway in the region, Hempstead Turnpike in Nassau County, was targeted by the state Department of Transportation for redesign, including raised medians and more crosswalks. 

“We have seen again and again that relatively low-cost improvements such as the improvements being done to Hempstead Turnpike can save lives,” said Veronica Vanterpool, Tri-State Transportation Campaign’s executive director, in a statement.

Also, a dangerous road in Brooklyn, 4th Avenue, was redesigned, principally through 52 widened crossing islands put in during the fall last year, making a street easier and less dangerous for pedestrians to cross, according to the report. 

Pedestrians walk last year past the LOOK! sign at the intersection of 42nd Street and Second Avenue. (Amal Chen/The Epoch Times)

Pedestrians walk last year past the LOOK! sign at the intersection of 42nd Street and Second Avenue. (Amal Chen/The Epoch Times)

The city’s Department of Transportation has won general support from transportation advocacy groups for multiple street redesigns, and other initiatives and campaigns such as putting in 1,500 countdown clocks (that show how long pedestrians have to cross the road), and Look!, which encourages both pedestrians and drivers to be more aware while traveling around.

““Report after report affirms that safety is an investment strategy that works, underscoring the importance of sustaining and expanding this commitment,” said Janette Sadik-Khan, commissioner of the department, in an emailed statement. ”Even though the last five years were the safest in a century, we still need to do more to make neighborhoods even safer for the seniors and schoolchildren who have the hardest time getting around.”

Lax NYPD investigations into pedestrians and bicyclists being struck by cars and being injured or killed are typically cited as the major problem

Council members introduced a bill in August last year to improve crash investigations but the bill hasn’t moved forward. 

In the new report, the campaign’s recommendations include increasing funding for pedestrian and bicycle projects in the state’s capital plan, and to put in more speed cameras in New York City.



  • Ines Alveano

    There’s a movement called “8-80 cities”, that promotes places where 8 year old children and 80 year old seniors can move by themselves without being at risk.


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