Tuesday, December 16, 2014
Tuesday, March 18, 2014
By Jim O'Grady
Thursday, January 02, 2014
In his first working day in office, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said his administration would "focus a lot of energy" on reducing traffic fatalities, calling the issue "a huge public safety issue." His remarks came at the swearing in of his Police Commissioner, Bill Bratton.
Thursday, October 17, 2013
The New York Police Department issued 736 tickets for speeding over the weekend in what it called a "speed enforcement initiative." It is unclear if this marks a shift in traffic policing policy, or a one-off effort.
Thursday, September 12, 2013
By Patricia Willens : Editor, WNYC News
A horrific scene unfolded in Maspeth, Queens on Thursday morning when a car slammed into a group of children near their school, I.S. 73. As the Daily News reported, people raced to help, including a group of men who lifted the car off of two students pinned underneath.
Monday, August 12, 2013
Bike lanes and express buses are hot with the candidates hoping to lead New York City. The advocacy group Transportation Alternatives surveyed seven of the 12 mayoral candidates on transit, biking, walking, and traffic safety policies. Here's what they said.
Thursday, August 08, 2013
NYC mayoral candidate Bill De Blasio has released the most ambitious transportation safety targets of any candidate: zero deaths in car crashes.
Monday, March 18, 2013
Traffic fatalities rose 12 percent in 2012 in New York City, driven by a 46 percent jump in the number of motor vehicle occupants who were killed in crashes. Speeding, the city says, was the top contributing factor. Pedestrians and cyclist fatalities remained at or near historic lows.
The number of cyclists who were killed dropped 18 percent compared to 2011 (from 22 to 18) while the number of pedestrians struck and killed rose by 5 percent in 2012 (from 141 to 148) according to figures released by the NYC Department of Transportation.
In total 274 people died in traffic collisions, 108 of them in vehicles (including on motorcycles) and 166 of them while walking or riding a bike. The DOT had previously cited 237 as the number of fatalities for 2011 but amended that to 245 in today's release.
The DOT calculates "speeding was the greatest single factor in traffic deaths, contributing to 81 fatal traffic crashes—about 30 percent of all traffic fatalities." Fatal hit-and-runs are also on the rise, the DOT said. Other contributing factors were "disregard of red lights or stop signs, driver inattention and/or alcohol."
“One thousand New Yorkers are alive today who would not be if we simply sustained the city’s fatality rate just one decade ago,” said Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan. She stressed efforts the city is making to reduce speeding near schools (see graphic below) and long term positive safety trends.
New York remains safe by national standards. Traffic fatalities remain near all time lows following an aggressive program installing about 200 safety improvements in the past five years including street and intersection redesigns, protected bike lanes, slow zones and special attention to schools. NYC traffic fatality rates are less than one third of the national average on a per capita basis, and about half the rates of many other big cities.
To address the dangers of speeding, Mayor Mike Bloomberg and several members of the City Council want to install speed cameras. Last week the City Council called on state legislators -- whose approval is needed -- to permit the city to install cameras.
The NYPD supported the idea in a statement along with the official release of the 2012 fatality numbers. “Just as red light cameras reduced infractions at intersections where they were installed, we anticipate that speed cameras will result in greater compliance with posted speed limits,” said Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly.
The Police union, however, has come out against the speed cameras, telling the NY Daily News, "What we need are the actual police officers on the street ... Cops on the street are what slows people down.”
Last month, Kelly announced a considerable expansion of NYPD staffing its Collision Investigation Squad (formerly the Accident Investigation Squad) as part of a wider effort to focus more on preventing and investigating traffic collisions, which kill almost as many New Yorkers as gun homicides.
The NYPD issued one million moving violations last year, 71,000 of them for speeding, a figure advocates say is not enough. (By comparison, about 51,000 tickets went to cyclists in 2011. To see the latest breakdown of what summonses were issued by the NYPD, see this chart from January ). Police point out issuing speeding summonses requires special equipment, while other tickets can be written by every officer on the street. That could be why the NYPD supports speed cameras.
If today's announcement is any indication, the initial focus of speed cameras, if approved, could be around schools.
Speeding is alarmingly common near schools. The DOT measured the percentage of vehicles that were speeding when passing NYC schools. Outside three schools, 100 percent of the cars were speeding: P.S. 60 Alice Austen in Staten Island, P.S. 233 Langston Hughes in Brooklyn and P.S. 54 Hillside in Queens.
At the High School for Law Enforcement and Public Safety, 75 percent of cars were going above the legal limit. In all, the DOT released a list of 100 schools where 75 percent or more of vehicles were speeding. Cameras, the city says, can help.
"The streets around our city’s schools are the real speed traps, and we can’t play it safe when it comes to doing everything we can to protect New Yorkers on our streets—and especially seniors and school kids,” said Sadik-Khan.
The DOT also pointed out, no pedestrians were killed in crashes with cyclists.
Monday, February 25, 2013
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|
Wednesday, June 08, 2011
By Jim O'Grady
(New York, NY - WNYC) A New Yorker is killed every 35 hours in a traffic crash, according to a new report.That's more than are killed by guns.
Domestically, that's not a bad record. New York has fewer road fatalities per capita than any other large U.S. city, according to the city DOT. But in European cities, like Paris and Berlin, the fatality rate is one half of New York's.
The report by the advocacy group Transportation Alternatives and the Drum Major Institute for Public Policy is pushing for a goal of zero traffic fatalities.
Transportation Alternatives Spokesman Michael Murphy says it's time to catch up with European cities. "For us to pat ourselves on the back to have reduced traffic fatalities as much as we have is to say that those remaining hundred to three hundred people a year who are dying is acceptable," he said. "It's absolutely not." New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan frequently tout New York's diminishing traffic fatality rate as a sign of success of their street redesign initiatives.
The Transportation Alternatives/DMI report says most of those killed in accidents are pedestrians, and the majority of deaths are caused by speeding cars on wide roadways like Queens Boulevard. A separate study, by Tri-State Transportation Campaign, says senior citizens are most at risk.
DOT spokesman Seth Solomonow told Transportation Nation that the city has already launched anti-speeding campaigns, added countdown signals to hundreds of intersections and re-engineered streets to make them safer for children and seniors. "You’d have to be living under a rock not to know that safety is the most important priority for this agency," he said. "We will not stop in our efforts until we make our streets safe for all New Yorkers."
Transportation Alternatives and the DOT do agree on what to do next. Both favor street calming measures like curb extensions, pedestrian islands, and bike lanes. Here's the DOT's pedestrian safety plan.
That doesn't mean it's going to happen. Those measures have been criticized by some elected officials for impeding vehicular traffic, and some critics say pedestrian islands and other calming measures can block emergency vehicles.
A report by advocacy group Transportation Alternatives says a New Yorker is killed every 35 hours in a traffic crash. That's more than are killed by guns.
Domestically, that's not a bad record. New York has fewer road fatalities per capita than any other large U.S. city, according to the city DOT. But in European cities, like Paris and London, the fatality rate is one half of New York's.
Transportation Alternatives Spokesman Michael Murphy says it's time to catch up. "For us to pat ourselves on the back to have reduced traffic fatalities as much as we have is to say that those remaining hundred to three hundred people a year who are dying is acceptable," he said. "It's absolutely not."
The report says most of those killed in accidents are pedestrians, and the majority of deaths are caused by speeding cars on wide roadways like Queens Boulevard. A separate study, by Tri-State Transportation Campaign, says senior citizens are most at risk.
DOT spokesman Seth Solomonow told WNYC that the city has already launched anti-speeding campaigns, added countdown signals to hundreds of intersections and re-engineered streets to make them safer for children and seniors. "You’d have to be living under a rock not to know that safety is the most important priority for this agency," he said. "We will not stop in our efforts until we make our streets safe for all New Yorkers."
Transportation Alternatives and the DOT do agreed on what to do next. Both favor street calming measures like curb extensions, pedestrian islands and bike lanes.
That doesn't mean it's going to happen. Those measures have been criticized by some elected officials for impeding vehicular traffic, and some critics say pedestrian island and other calming measures can block emergency vehicles.
Friday, February 18, 2011
(Andrea Bernstein, Transportation Nation) The latest data comes from Minneapolis ' League of Bicyclists. (hat tip: Streetsblog) which shows steadily fewer bike accidents as more cyclists hit the streets. In 1999 there were three hundred some-odd bike crashes -- a decade later, that number was 269. During the same period, daily bike commuters jumped from 3000 to 8000.
New York's trend has been similar: city data shows a huge spike in cycling in the latter part of the last decade. But overall bicycle crashes have not been rising, according to the New York City DOT. Bicycle deaths did increase from 2009 to 2010 -- to 18. That's up from 12 in 2009 but down from 26 in 2008.
New York's pedestrian safety report also found that the installation of bike lanes makes those streets safer for all users, whether on foot, in a car, or on a bike.
But San Francisco is showing the opposite trend -- as Kate and Casey reported earlier this month . According to a pretty lengthy analysis by the Bay Citizen, crashes are rising faster in San Francisco than the number of cyclists.
What's going on here? Planners &c, please weigh in!
Friday, January 14, 2011
Fire officials continued to defend the so-called "crash tax" proposal that would charge at-fault drivers up to $490 when emergency crews had to respond to traffic accidents as insurers fumed over the fee.
Friday, November 19, 2010
(New York, NY -- Jim O'Grady, WNYC) New York City's Health Commissioner Thomas Farley, was the keynoter at the Transportation Alternatives Speeding Summit today, pledging a major new public health emphasis on urban design.
"After quitting smoking, there's probably no behavior that promotes health more than regular physical activity," Farley said. "Okay, that's great. So what are we going to do about that? To me, the answer to that is thoughtful urban design and transportation infrastructure. "
Though the NYC Health Department last summer released a report saying 25 children's lives are saved a year because fewer New York City children ride in cars than in other cities, most of New York's traffic safety campaign has rested on the shoulders of NYC DOT, and its commissioner, Janette Sadik-Khan.
It's Sadik-Khan who's taken fire from protesters, like Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, and more recently, some orthodox Jews in Brooklyn's Borough Park. But Farley signaled that with a report coming out Monday on traffic injuries and urban design, he'll join Sadik-Khan in promoting public health benefits of slower driving speeds and more pedestrian-friendly environments.
Farley also said he would send staff to community board meetings to explain the safety benefits of bike lanes.
Thursday, October 21, 2010
By Kate Hinds
“Many New Yorkers do not even know what the speed limit is,” said New York City Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan. Speaking today at the intersection where Broadway, Amsterdam Avenue and West 71st Street meet in a notorious “bow-tie” configuration, she said that the city and the New York Police Department are kicking off an enforcement campaign designed to make the streets safer for pedestrians, bicyclists and drivers.
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
Transportation Alternatives, an advocacy group, is recommending City Hall do a better job of enforcing city traffic laws that protect pedestrians. Wiley Norvell, the group's spokesman, says not enough is done to punish reckless drivers.
Norvell says he wants to see more resources dedicated to safer traffic control, ...