Tri-State Report Identifies Region’s Most Dangerous Roads for Walking

Source: TSTC analysis of NHTSA’s FARS database, 2006-2010

More than 1,200 pedestrians are killed in New Jersey, downstate New York, and Connecticut each year.

Once again, Tri-State’s annual Most Dangerous Roads for Walking report finds that the Hempstead Turnpike in Nassau County is the region’s most dangerous for pedestrians. Between 2008 and 2010, 15 pedestrians were killed along the 16-mile stretch of road, with most of those fatalities occurring in the six miles between Franklin Square and East Meadow. After years of topping the list, the New York State Department of Transportation recently committed to short-term and long-term pedestrian improvements to the road.

Tri-State applauds NYSDOT’s efforts on the Hempstead Turnpike and would like to see others follow its lead: the report offers region-wide pedestrian safety recommendations that can be implemented by states or municipalities. These include increased investment in the Safe Routes to School, Safe Routes to Transit, and Safe Routes for Seniors programs, and tracking and monitoring Complete Streets laws and policies.

The study finds that the roads needing the most improvement are those described as “arterial.” With two or more lanes in each direction, arterial roads are designed to accommodate vehicle speeds of 40 mph or higher, and they are the region’s deadliest for pedestrians.

The Tri-State Region’s Most Dangerous Roads:

Rank Change in Ranking (Prior Year’s Rank) Road County Pedestrian Fatalities (2008-2010)
1 SR-24 (Hempstead Tpke/Conklin St) Nassau, NY 15
2 Broadway Manhattan, NY 13
3 (4) SR-27 (Sunrise Hwy) Suffolk, NY 10
3 US-130 (Burlington Pike) Burlington, NJ 10
5 (8) US-1&9 Union, NJ 9
6 (8) Broadway Bronx, NY 7
6 (8) Kings Hwy Brooklyn, NY 7
6 (8) SR-27 (Sunrise Hwy) Nassau, NY 7
6 (5) Henry Hudson Pkwy/West St Manhattan, NY 7
6 (8) SR-25 (Middle Country Rd) Suffolk, NY 7
6 (5) Atlantic Ave Brooklyn, NY 7
6 new SR-110 (New York Ave) Suffolk, NY 7
6 (8) US-1 Middlesex, NJ 7

Although these roads remain dangerous, pedestrian fatalities decreased in New York and New Jersey in 2010. They did, however, increase in Connecticut. Two other worrisome trends emerged in 2010 and in recently-released 2011 data from New Jersey. While national motor vehicle fatalities decreased in 2010, pedestrian fatalities and injuries associated with these crashes increased. NJDOT data also show a slight increase in the state’s pedestrian fatalities during 2011. As gas prices increase and people turn to more affordable means of transportation, like walking, the tri-state region must ensure that its roads are designed and repaired with pedestrian safety in mind.

Tri-State praised the progress made in the region from 2010 to early 2012, which included municipal Complete Streets resolutions and the passage of a statewide Complete Streets law in New York. Nonetheless, there were 1,267 pedestrian deaths from 2008 to 2010. Designing and redesigning roads for all users—pedestrians, bicyclists and drivers alike—must continue to be a high priority for the region.

3 Comments on "Tri-State Report Identifies Region’s Most Dangerous Roads for Walking"

  1. Clark Morris | March 7, 2012 at 5:59 pm |

    How many of these pedestrians were listening to an I-pod/other music device, talking on a cell phone or otherwise walking distracted? There have been several cases of distracted pedestrians walking into or in front of transit vehicles.

  2. Clark,

    Two points:

    1. Is it that important if they were distracted? The fact that someone died is a burden to taxpayers. Think of all the education, love, and investment that went into creating that person. To have their life cut short by a simple mistake prevents them from contributing to society and being an active part of the workforce.

    2. The data does not differentiate between fatalities where the driver was at fault and fatalities where the pedestrian was at fault. For the sake of argument, if you assume that for 50% of cases the driver was at fault, and for 50% of cases the pedestrian was at fault, then you still have a few pedestrians dying every year because of someone else’s incompetent driving.

  3. Measuring pedestrian safety should not be measured by fatalities. We should be preventing fatalities by ensuring safe walking areas. Safe walking areas should be a means of decreasing automobile use.

    I call your attention to the underpass of the Garden State Parkway between the Southbound entrance ramp and the Northboun
    d Exit 90. It is dangerous for driving this stretch and virtually impossible to walk or bicycle. There is NO shoulder.

    It is a stretch of road with Brick Municipal Complex; Brick Township High School/Ocean County Vocational Training School on the southern end and Route 88 a commercial strip and residential area in the north.

    It is a result of poor planning. There is no grid system which would alleviate vehicle traffic and provide walkable areas.

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