Alex Goldmark is a senior producer in the newsroom for New Tech City and Transportation Nation.
Fourteen pedestrians died along Hempstead Turnpike in Nassau County, NY from 2009 through 2011. That's almost one fatality for each mile of road, a morbid statistic that earned that 16-mile stretch the dubious distinction of the most dangerous road in the NYC area according to an analysis by a transportation policy watchdog group.
The Tri-State Transportation Campaign crunched traffic data numbers from 2009-2001 for the New York City area, including suburbs in Long Island (which includes Nassau County), New Jersey and Connecticut. According to a report issued by the Campaign today, one type of road stands out as particularly dangerous for pedestrians.
"The analysis found that arterial roads – roads with two or more lanes in each direction that are designed to accommodate vehicle speeds of 40 mph or higher – are the most deadly for pedestrians, with almost 60 percent of pedestrian deaths in Connecticut, New Jersey and downstate New York occurring on this type of road.
“Arterials were traditionally designed to move vehicles from one destination to the next without regard for other road users like pedestrians and bicyclists. We continue to see that designing roads like this results in needless loss of life,” said Renata Silberblatt, report author and staff analyst with the Campaign."
For a full list of the 10 most dangerous roads according to the report, scroll down. For maps and lists by county, go here.
In the report, the Campaign praised governmental agencies for taking steps to redesign dangerous corridors.
State complete streets laws exist in New York and Connecticut and the New Jersey DOT endorsed a complete streets policy in 2009. In addition, over 40 municipal and county governments in the tri-state region have adopted complete streets policies. These local policies will help ensure that the roadways under local and county jurisdiction are designed and redesigned with all users – pedestrians, bicyclists and motorists in mind.
In 2012, the New York State Department of Transportation began pedestrian safety improvements along Hempstead Turnpike, also known as Route 24.
“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. "“We applaud NYSDOT’s attention to Hempstead Turnpike," she added in an emailed statement.
According to the statement, the improvements include "eight raised medians and five new crosswalks, as well as relocating six bus stops closer to crosswalks and altering traffic signals to calm traffic."
The report recommends increased spending on Safe Routes to School, Safe Routes to Transit and Safe Routes for Seniors programs, and promotes "complete streets" laws that require the inclusion of pedestrian and cyclist concerns in street planning and redesigns.
"Recent improvements to New York’s most dangerous roadways are very encouraging and AARP is hopeful that this report will instill a sense of urgency to make even more improvements where necessary," said Will Stoner, associate state director for AARP in New York in a statement.
The report uses the latest data available in the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS).
The 10 most dangerous roads in the NYC Tri-State Area
|Rank||Change in Ranking (Prior Year's Rank)||Road||Pedestrian Fatalities (2009-2011)|
|1||-||SR-24 (HEMPSTEAD TPKE,FULTON AVE),Nassau County,NY||14|
|3||↑ (6)||SR-25 (JERICHOTPKE,MIDDLE COUNTRY RD),Suffolk County,NY||11|
|4||↑ (6)||SR-27 (SUNRISEHWY),NassauCounty, NY||9|
|4||↑ (6)||SR-110 (NEW YORK AVE,BROADHOLLOW RD, BROADWAY),Suffolk County,NY||9|
|4||↑ (14)||US‐322/40 (Blackhorse Pike),Atlantic County,NJ||9|
|4||↓ (3)||US-130 (BURLINGTON PIKE),Burlington County,NJ||9|
|4||↑ (6)||ROUTE 1,Middlesex County,NJ||9|
|9||↓ (3)||SR-27 (SUNRISEHWY,MONTAUK POINT STATE HWY, CR 39),Suffolk County,NY||8|
|9||↑ (26)||US-30 (WHITE HORSE PIKE),Camden County,NJ||8|
|9||new||ROUTE 9,Middlesex County,NJ||8|