Report Identifies Region’s Most Dangerous Roads for Pedestrians

With 1,242 needless pedestrian deaths from 2009 through 2011, more can — and should — be done to further protect pedestrians. | Image: Tri-State Transportation Campaign

With 1,242 needless pedestrian deaths from 2009 through 2011, more can — and should — be done to further protect pedestrians. | Image: Tri-State Transportation Campaign

Tri-State’s annual Most Dangerous Roads for Walking report  finds that 1,242 pedestrians were killed on Connecticut, New Jersey and downstate New York roads in the three years from 2009 through 2011.

According to the report released today, Route 24 (Hempstead Turnpike) in Nassau County is the region’s most dangerous road for pedestrians for the fifth consecutive year since Tri-State’s first analysis in 2008. Between 2009 and 2011, 14 pedestrians were killed along the 16-mile stretch of roadway. After years of advocacy, in 2012 NYSDOT began to make Hempstead Turnpike safer for pedestrians by adding raised medians and crosswalks, relocating bus stops closer to crosswalks and altering signals to calm traffic.

Tri-State’s 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 the region’s pedestrian deaths occurring on these types of roads, despite the fact that arterials make up only 15 percent of roads in the region.

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

 

Rank Change in Ranking (Prior Year’s Rank) Road Pedestrian Fatalities (2009-2011)

1

- SR-24 (HEMPSTEAD TPKE, FULTON AVE), Nassau County, NY

14

2

- BROADWAY, Manhattan, NY

12

3

↑ (6) SR-25 (JERICHO TPKE, MIDDLE COUNTRY RD), Suffolk County, NY

11

4

↑ (6) SR-27 (SUNRISE HWY), Nassau County, 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 (SUNRISE HWY, 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

The Campaign praised municipal, county and state governments as well as state agencies for taking significant steps in recent years to make roads safer for all users. Complete streets laws have been enacted in New York and Connecticut, while the New Jersey Department of Transportation has adopted a complete streets policy. 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, transit users and motorists — in mind.

However, with 1,242 needless pedestrian deaths from 2009 through 2011, more can — and should — be done to further protect pedestrians. The report offers region-wide recommendations that can be implemented on a state or city level, including increased spending on Safe Routes to School, Safe Routes to Transit and Safe Routes for Seniors programs and tracking and monitoring complete streets laws and policies to ensure their implementation. The report also offers specific recommendations for each state.

Groups and elected officials across the region responded to TSTC’s call for prioritizing funding for pedestrian safety and pedestrian improvements to dangerous roads:

 Downstate New York

  • “We are saddened that our region continues to be plagued by many dangerous roadways that are unsafe for residents of all ages, customers and workers in our local communities.  This report once again points to the need to move quickly to fund complete streets projects and enhance pedestrian safety.” – Eric Alexander, executive director of Vision Long Island
  • “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.  Designing our roadways with pedestrians in mind, today and in the future, is paramount considering the aging population we have on Long Island.” — Will Stoner, associate state director for AARP in New York
  • “It’s alarming that New York City’s major arterial streets are so dangerous for pedestrians and bicyclists. New Yorkers need safe and convenient access to the businesses that populate these major streets to keep the wheels of our economy turning. It’s imperative that the candidates who seek to lead our city as Mayor offer a vision for New York that will keep New Yorkers safe on our streets with proven solutions like bike lanes, pedestrian refuges and other necessary safety improvements.” — Paul Steely White, executive director of Transportation Alternatives

New Jersey

  • “Bicyclists and pedestrians make up nearly a quarter of the traffic deaths in New Jersey. The state should invest a fair amount of its federal Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP) funds to make it safer to walk or bike. Though bicycle and pedestrian safety projects are eligible for funding, HSIP has been largely overlooked as a resource.” — John Boyle, research director at The Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia
  • “Our approach in New Jersey needs to be three-pronged: re-design and rebuild of these arterial roads using complete streets concepts, legislation and enforcement to protect vulnerable road users and education that emphasizes the value of these changes. Our approach should ultimately strive to bring about a change in culture; the concept that roads have multiple types of users is a significant shift in mindset among most New Jersey residents. Only with this shift in culture will we begin to see reductions in pedestrian fatality and injury rates.” — Cyndi Steiner, executive director of the New Jersey Bike & Walk Coalition

Connecticut

  • “It’s distressing to see New Haven at the top of the list for pedestrian deaths. At both the State and local level, we need to commit resources to making our roads safer and ensure that all users are able to walk, bike or drive without fear for their lives. We must further commit to stronger enforcement of traffic laws that target careless, distracted or dangerous drivers. Enhanced distracted driving laws, red light cameras at dangerous intersections, laws protecting our vulnerable users and the requirement that our roadways are designed smarter and accommodate all users – these are but a few of the urgent bills that I am supporting this year. We should never top this list again. ” — State Representative Roland Lemar
  • “Improvements in Connecticut’s roadways are very important for seniors, but people of all ages benefit when communities have features like safer crosswalks and affordable and accessible transportation options.  AARP is encouraged by improvements to date and hopeful that this report will highlight what policy makers can do to encourage pedestrian safety and livable communities across the state.” — Nora L. Duncan, state director for AARP Connecticut
  • “Implementing policies and investments that will make our streets safe and easy to navigate will encourage people to get out and walk; to school, to parks, to a bus stop or to a neighborhood shop.  Pedestrian improvements, one of the easiest and least costly transportation investments, reap multiple benefits for public health, safety and the economy, while being the greenest travel option.  It just makes sense to take steps to improve our streets.” — Kirsten Griebel, program director of the Connecticut League of Conservation Voters

The report uses the most up-to-date data available from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System to determine which roads within each county had the highest number of pedestrian fatalities from 2009 to 2011. The analysis excludes Interstates and other roads where pedestrians are prohibited.

County fact sheets showing the most dangerous roads for walking are also available and include an interactive map showing the locations, along with demographic data, for each pedestrian fatality. The full report, as well as county fact sheets and maps can be found here.

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