PRESS RELEASE

For immediate release:

February 9, 2011

Contact:
Kate Slevin, Ryan Lynch
Tri-State Transportation Campaign
(212) 268-7474

Report Identifies Region’s Most Dangerous Roads for Pedestrians

Regional pedestrian deaths remain stubbornly high as group calls for Complete Streets policies

A new report from the Tri-State Transportation Campaign finds that an average of 415 pedestrians are killed in New Jersey, downstate New York, and Connecticut each year.

The tri-state region’s most dangerous road for pedestrians, for the third year in a row, is the Hempstead Turnpike in Nassau County, according to the new analysis by Tri-State Transportation Campaign, a policy watchdog organization. 

Between 2007 and 2009, 12 pedestrians were killed along the 16-mile stretch of roadway, with most of those fatalities occurring as the road passes through Elmont, Franklin Square and Hempstead.

“Too many lives are being tragically and senselessly cut short on the Hempstead Turnpike,” said Ryan Lynch, Senior Planner with the Campaign. “We need to fix this road.”

“Our analysis shows that pedestrians are most at risk on either major suburban thoroughfares designed exclusively for fast-moving car traffic but lined with retail destinations, or extremely busy bi-directional urban roads,” said Michelle Ernst, report author and staff analyst with the Campaign.

Broadway, in Manhattan, ranked 2nd on the list, jumping up 6 places from last year’s ranking, with 11 fatalities during the period. Importantly, all but one of those fatalities occurred in northern Manhattan, and no pedestrians were killed along stretches of the road that have been closed to automobile traffic under the New York City Department of Transportation’s popular Green Light for Midtown project.

Other roads that saw major changes in their rankings from last year were US-322 (Blackhorse Pike) in Atlantic County, NJ, Ocean Parkway in Brooklyn, and Bowery in Manhattan.

The analysis found the region’s most dangerous roads for walking over the three-year period were:

 

Rank

Change in Ranking (Prior Year’s Rank)

Road

County

Pedestrian Fatalities (2007-2009)

1

(1)

SR-24 (Hempstead Tpke/Conklin St)

Nassau, NY

12

2

↑ (7)

Broadway

Manhattan, NY

11

3

(3)

US-130 (Burlington Pike)

Burlington, NJ

10

4

(2)

SR-27 (Sunrise Hwy)

Suffolk, NY

9

5

(3)

Atlantic Ave

Brooklyn, NY

8

5

↑ (8)

7th Ave

Manhattan, NY

8

5

new

Henry Hudson Pkwy/West St

Manhattan, NY

8

8

↑ (17)

US-322/40 (Blackhorse Pike/Albany Ave)

Atlantic, NJ

7

8

(8)

US-1

Middlesex, NJ

7

8

(8)

Route 549

Ocean, NJ

7

8

(8)

US-1&9

Union, NJ

7

8

(8)

Kings Hwy

Brooklyn, NY

7

8

↑ (17)

Ocean Pkwy

Brooklyn, NY

7

8

↑ (17)

Bowery

Manhattan, NY

7

8

new

SR-27 (Sunrise Hwy)

Nassau, NY

7

8

(3)

SR-25 (Middle Country Rd)

Suffolk, NY

7

8

new

Broadway

the Bronx, NY

7

8

↑ (24)

Grand Concourse

the Bronx, NY

7

The group called for the state legislature to pass “Complete Streets” legislation that has languished in Albany for nearly a year. That legislation would direct traffic engineers and planners to consider the needs of bicyclists, pedestrians, children, and seniors when designing a new or significantly retrofitted roadway. The Campaign notes that relatively small capital investments can result in significant safety improvements for pedestrians.

“Even with limited resources, the region can step up efforts to design more balanced, walkable streets,” said Kate Slevin, executive director of the Campaign. “Pedestrian improvements offer a tremendous bang for the buck.”

The group applauded efforts that are already underway to improve safety in many of these corridors.  Several communities on Long Island have adopted Complete Streets policies in the last year to ensure that new or retrofitted roads will be designed with pedestrians and bicyclists in mind. And the New York State Department of Transportation’s SafeSeniors pilot program has already improved pedestrian safety along dangerous Main Street in Smithtown, Long Island.

New Jersey’s Department of Transportation adopted an internal Complete Streets policy in late 2009, and last year the state enacted a common sense, “stop, and stay stopped” law requiring drivers to stop for pedestrians at crosswalks. Connecticut’s Complete Streets law was fully implemented at the end of last year. Outgoing Governor Rell announced changes to ConnDOT’s bicycle and pedestrian policies aimed at increasing available funding for and improving the delivery of bicycle and pedestrian projects.

Still, advocates said transportation departments must enhance safety efforts by starting new pedestrian programs and using existing federal dollars more efficiently.

“Progress has been made, but these tragic numbers prove that transportation agencies still have much work ahead,” said Slevin.

“You shouldn’t have to risk your life crossing the street,” said Paul Steely White, executive director of Transportation Alternatives. “Too many seniors in Inwood and Washington Heights feel threatened by speeding and reckless drivers. Local elected officials must step up their support of traffic calming, pedestrian refuge islands, bike lanes and other street designs proven to prevent injury and loss of life.”

Ernst used recently released data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) to determine which routes within each county had the highest number of pedestrian fatalities over the three-year period from 2006 to 2008. The analysis excludes Interstates and other roads where pedestrians are prohibited.

County fact sheets showing the most dangerous routes for walking are also available.  The fact sheets also include an interactive Google Map showing the locations of each pedestrian fatality, with descriptive details for each victim killed on the county’s most dangerous route or routes.

The full report, as well as county fact sheets and Google Maps can be found at www.tstc.org/reports/danger11/

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The Tri-State Transportation Campaign is a non-profit organization working toward a more balanced, transit-friendly and equitable transportation system in Connecticut, New York and New Jersey.