Since the release of TSTC’s most recent Most Dangerous Roads for Pedestrians report in February, state and local leaders in Connecticut, New Jersey and New York have been hard at work passing laws and making infrastructure changes that can help save lives.
On Post Road East (Route 1), the Connecticut Department of Transportation (ConnDOT) is expediting plans to make safety improvements in Westport, where three pedestrians have been killed in the last three years. The work will begin by filling in gaps in the sidewalk network and adding crosswalks near the popular Shake Shack restaurant, where earlier this year a 68-year-old man was struck and killed while walking along Post Road East.
In recent weeks, several New Jersey state lawmakers have come forward with legislation that aims to improve safety for vulnerable road users and stiffen penalties for dangerous driving. The legislation comes on the heels of multiple incidents in which pedestrians were struck and killed on Route 130 in Burlington County, New Jersey’s most dangerous road. In addition to legislation, state and local law enforcement have been cracking down on unsafe motorist behavior as part of the multi-jurisdictional Operation 130 Safe Passage effort, which launched in May. The next steps should include another look at improving safe pedestrian infrastructure along the corridor.
Long Island’s Hempstead Turnpike, which had been named the region’s most deadly road for pedestrians for five consecutive years, is finally getting the treatment it deserves. In September, the New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) began installing raised medians, adding crosswalks, relocating NICE bus stops closer to crosswalks and altering traffic signals to calm traffic. More recently, NYSDOT announced that attention will be brought to another deadly corridor, Sunrise Highway, but the agency has yet to engage local stakeholders to help develop the plan.
Jericho Turnpike (Route 25), a newcomer to the list of Most Dangerous Roads, should be the next deadly Long Island corridor on NYSDOT’s list. Ten pedestrians were killed on Jericho Turnpike in 2011 alone.
New York City
Although New York City has led the way in making roads safer for all users in recent years, there have been some setbacks in the efforts to make one of New York City’s most dangerous roads safer for walking.
In Park Slope, Brooklyn, an initiative by New York City Department of Transportation (NYCDOT) and Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz to transform Fourth Avenue from one of the City’s most dangerous roads into “Brooklyn Boulevard” has faced opposition from some members of Community Board 6, which voted down NYCDOT’s plan to reduce speeding and provide more space for pedestrians on the 1.4-mile stretch of Fourth Avenue in Park Slope, despite broad community support for the plan. Other segments of the plan have been implemented in Sunset Park. In Bay Ridge, Community Board 10 is expected to vote on its section of the plan tonight.