Region’s Most Dangerous Roads Are Again on Long Island

The two most dangerous roads in the region are on Long Island. Above: Hempstead Turnpike in Nassau County is highlighted in red. Each dot represents a fatality.

The two most dangerous roads in the region are on Long Island. Above: Hempstead Turnpike in Nassau County is highlighted in red. Each dot represents a fatality.

A new analysis from the Campaign shows that Nassau County’s Hempstead Turnpike, with 13 pedestrian fatalities from 2006 through 2008, continues to be the most dangerous road in the region for walking. Like most of the region’s deadliest roads, the Hempstead Turnpike is a wide suburban road designed to move cars quickly, with little accommodation for walkers.

The report, Most Dangerous Roads for Walking: And How States Can Make them Safer, analyzes three years of federal traffic fatality data to determine which roads in each county in the tri-state region are the most dangerous for walking.  It includes state and county fact sheets and Google Maps identifying the locations of fatal crashes and demographic information for those killed. More than 1,200 pedestrians were killed in downstate New York, New Jersey and Connecticut in 2006, 2007, and 2008.

The most dangerous roads in the region were:

Rank Roadway Pedestrian Fatalities (2006-2008)
1 Hempstead Turnpike (Route 24), Nassau County, NY 13
2 Sunrise Highway (Route 27/39), Suffolk County, NY 10
3 Burlington Pike (US-130), Burlington County, NJ 9
3 Atlantic Ave, Brooklyn 9
3 3rd Ave, Manhattan 9
3 Middle Country Rd (SR-25), Suffolk County, NY 9
7 Broadway, Manhattan 8
8 White Horse Pike (Route 30), Atlantic County, NJ 7
8 Route 1, Middlesex County, NJ 7
8 Route 549, Ocean County, NJ 7
8 Route 9, Ocean County, NJ 7
8 Route 1, Union County, NJ 7
8 Kings Highway, Brooklyn 7
8 Merrick Rd, Nassau County, NY 7
8 7th Ave, Manhattan 7
8 Hylan Blvd, Staten Island 7
Boston Post Road/US-1, Connecticut (statewide) 8

Long Island’s Hempstead Turnpike and Sunrise Highway top the list, as they did last year.

With the exception of the routes in Manhattan and Brooklyn, these roadways are major suburban thoroughfares, classified by traffic engineers as arterials.  The Campaign’s analysis found that more than 60 percent of pedestrian fatalities in the tri-state region occurred on arterial routes.

These roads typically have at least two lanes in each direction and accommodate prevailing travel speeds of 40 mph or higher.  Pedestrians struck by a vehicle traveling at this speed have a dismal 15 percent chance of survival. They have little pedestrian infrastructure — sidewalks are often lacking, crosswalks and crossing signals are scarce, and medians, if they exist, offer little protection from speeding traffic.

But most arterials are lined with destinations like shops and restaurants, doctor’s offices, post offices, banks, and grocery stores.  For people who choose not to drive, or can’t drive because they are too young, too old, too infirm, or too poor to afford a car, a trip to the store to pick up a gallon of milk often means a harrowing walk.

In response to the report, AARP announced that today it will conduct a walkability audit of a section of Third Avenue, the most dangerous road in Manhattan, to assess its safety for older pedestrians. During the three-year study period, nine pedestrians were killed on Third Avenue; all but one was 50 years of age or older.

Other advocates praised government for recent steps towards improving safety for pedestrians and cyclists, such as Connecticut’s complete streets law, NJDOT’s complete streets policy, NYSDOT’s SafeSeniors program on Long Island, and NYCDOT’s Safe Routes for Seniors program.

But the numbers show that the region has a long way to go. Steps that states can take include implementing meaningful complete streets laws and policies, protecting vulnerable pedestrians through senior- or student-oriented programs, and designating a fair share of federal funds for biking and walking. As the recent Transportation For America report Dangerous by Design shows, states are shortchanging pedestrians and cyclists when allocating federal funds.

Press Information

The report, fact sheets, Google Maps, and press releases are available on TSTC’s website at The releases include quotes from TSTC, Transportation Alternatives, AARP’s New York chapter, NJ Future, and Disability Rights New Jersey.

AARP’s walkability audit will include a press conference and will take place on the southwest corner of 49th Street and Third Avenue beginning at 1:30pm today.

Images: Top – TSTC Google Map; Right – Google Maps Street View.

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