pedestrian safety in nyc

NYC Announces New Initiatives Focusing on Pedestrian Safety at Intersections

Intersections pose a safety issue in the Big Apple, where crashes at these sites typically make up 50% of all deaths and 70% of all injuries, the city said

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What to Know

  • New York City announced Wednesday that it is investing in pedestrian safety at intersections -- the leading site of pedestrian injuries and deaths -- through the launch of new actions and improvements.
  • Among the announced new investments for pedestrian safety, DOT will make design improvements to 1,000 intersections to make them safer with improved traffic signals, raised crosswalks, and other expanded pedestrian space and visibility measures.
  • Additionally, the NYPD will immediately begin expanded enforcement against drivers who fail to recognize the primacy of pedestrians in crosswalks.

New York City announced Wednesday that it is investing in pedestrian safety at intersections -- the leading site of pedestrian injuries and deaths -- through the launch of new actions and improvements.

Among the announced new investments for pedestrian safety, DOT will make design improvements to 1,000 intersections to make them safer with improved traffic signals, raised crosswalks, and other expanded pedestrian space and visibility measures.

According to the city, intersections pose a safety issue in the Big Apple, where crashes at these sites typically make up 50% of all deaths and 70% of all injuries.

Additionally, the NYPD will immediately begin expanded enforcement against drivers who fail to recognize the primacy of pedestrians in crosswalks.

“After the tragedy of 2021, when traffic fatalities in New York City reached their highest level in nearly a decade, we clearly need to turbo-charge Vision Zero — and fast,” Mayor Eric Adams said in a statement. “I thank my two commissioners [from DOT and NYPD] for putting this early focus on enforcement and design within intersections, where we have the tools that can and will save lives.  Drivers need to know that intersections are where most crashes happen — and so if you do not drive safely through them, NYPD officers will make sure you pay a price.” 

DOT FOCUS ON INTERSECTION DESIGN

The DOT will undertake new efforts focused on intersection design at 1,000 locations this year. These efforts include:

  • Increased focus on intersections in Street Improvement Projects: DOT will use its full toolkit of street design treatments as redesigns happen, focused on Vision Zero priority geographies, locations where fatalities and serious injuries have occurred, and Priority Investment Areas as detailed in the NYC Streets Plan. These changes include new turn signals and “head-starts” that allow pedestrians to enter the intersection before vehicles can turn.
  • Raised crosswalks: DOT will begin a program to build 100 raised crosswalks at curb level annually.
  • Bike corrals at intersections: DOT will “daylight” at least 100 intersections with bike corrals this year, as part of its planned installation of more than 10,000 bicycle racks by the end of 2022. Bike corrals at intersections help provide visibility for drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians. They also prevent drivers from cutting corners or turning too quickly.
  • Parking lot and gas station traffic-calming: Curb cuts at high-traffic locations like parking lots and gasoline stations, often at intersections, can create danger as drivers cut across sidewalks unpredictably. DOT will target dozens of these locations, largely outside Manhattan, reducing driver “shortcuts."
  • Doubling the Turn-Calming Program: According to studies, drivers take turns more slowly when physical elements are in place to force turns at appropriate speeds. With this in mind, the DOT focus on these efforts to 100 intersections this year.

“As we take a new approach to Vision Zero, we know intersections are where pedestrians and cyclists face the greatest dangers — and so we can and will make hundreds of crosswalks safer with a range of treatments, both new ones and more of those that we know work. We will not be complacent or accept any life lost on our streets," Department of Transportation Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez said in a statement.

A man is in critical condition after witnesses said that a car ran a red light, slammed into the victim as he was crossing the street, then took off. NBC New York's Marc Santia reports.

INCREASES NYPD ENFORCEMENT AT INTERSECTIONS

The NYPD will strongly enforce failure-to-yield (FTY), a violation that especially endangers pedestrians and cyclists at intersections, with a goal of doubling 2021 FTY enforcement efforts. Officers will have this new violation as a tool thanks to a new DOT traffic rule that went into effect Wednesday for these violations at over 1,200 intersections citywide that do not have a traffic signal or a stop sign.

The new traffic rule calls for drivers and cyclists passing these intersections to not just simply yield but to come to a full stop until a pedestrian has completely crossed the street.

“Ensuring the safety of New York City streets and all who use them is paramount, and this new plan is critical to the NYPD’s important work with its city partners,” Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell said in a statement. “The NYPD continues to be relentless in enforcing the laws, including this new rule that protects pedestrians crossing city intersections. Through Mayor Adams’ leadership, and by working hand-in-hand with the Department of Transportation in this new approach to Vision Zero, the NYPD will keep innovating to make our streets safer.”

PUBLIC AWARENESS CAMPAIGN

This month, DOT will begin a "Stop. Let Them Cross" public awareness campaign on social media and in community and media publications to raise awareness for the new stop for pedestrians’ rule for uncontrolled intersections.

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