To Stop Pedestrian Deaths NYC Must Change How it Builds Streets

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First Avenue in Manhattan. Avenues used to run two-way, which is safer for pedestrians, but were mostly made one-way, to make life easier for drivers.

David Shankbone

First Avenue in Manhattan. Avenues used to run two-way, which is safer for pedestrians, but were mostly made one-way, to make life easier for drivers.

November 13th—Friday the 13th—marked the 13th day in a row that a pedestrian died on a New York City Street, all killed by cars or buses going too fast. They were among the 19 pedestrian deaths in the city last month—basically, one person lost for every business day. These fatalities occurred because despite all the progress New York has made since Mayor de Blasio and his DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg signed the Vision Zero Pledge in December 2013 (more on this below), most of our city streets are still seen primarily as transportation corridors for cars and trucks.

Until we prioritize pedestrian safety over traffic flow, we will never get to zero deaths for pedestrians, cyclists, drivers, or their passengers. But the good news is that when we do make streets that are safe for pedestrians, traffic still flows—and it becomes easy to design streets where people can want to get out of their cars and walk, enjoying public life. Which, after all, is what city life is all about. We don’t have to choose between pedestrian plazas in Times Square and suburban-style arterials. We can have our cake and eat it too.

A little history is relevant here: for decades, our city streets have been controlled by the DOT—the Department of Transportation— which employs traffic engineers and transportation planners who have traditionally seen their job as making traffic flow quickly and safely. They use a federal grading system that grades street quality according to the "Level of Service" (LOS)—a measurement of how well traffic moves.

Anything that impeded traffic flow was a problem to be identified and eliminated. Trees became known as Fixed Hazardous Objects (FHOs), because they damage cars that hit them. Standard practice in traffic engineering is therefore to confine trees to a Vegetative Containment Zone kept away from the vehicles.

People are called MHOs—Moving Hazardous Objects. They also slow down and damage cars that hit them, and so they’re kept away from the cars too.

Of course it wasn't always like this. The change to an era dominated by the automobile began roughly 100 years ago, when the group that the historian Peter Norton calls "Organized Motordom"—a consortium of car companies, oil companies, road contractors, and even AAA—realized that increasing car sales depended on getting people out of the way of the cars. People were used to walking wherever they wanted, and one American city responded to the new safety threat by requiring cars to be preceded by a man on foot carrying a flag, to warn bystanders that a car was coming.

The Ford Model T went into mass production in 1908, however, and within 10 years American cities had ceded control of city streets to cars. For the first time, people on foot had to stand at the corner and wait for a traffic light to let them cross. Organized Motordom popularized a new meaning for the word "jaywalking," which had previously referred to a country bumpkin walking in the city, and persuaded cities across the country to pass anti-pedestrian jaywalking laws.

Is Vision Zero having an impact on traffic deaths and injuries? Click to read more.

Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office.

Is Vision Zero having an impact on traffic deaths and injuries? Click to read more.

One-hundred years later, the tide started to go the other way in New York City: Mayor Bloomberg’s DOT Commissioner, Janette Sadik-Khan, led a revolution in the way we use our streets, building hundreds of miles of bike lanes and a number of new pedestrian plazas. In places like Times Square and Madison Square the DOT took street space away from cars and gave it to the pedestrian. Since 80 percent of Manhattanites don’t own cars, and 80 percent of Manhattan workers don’t travel to work by private car, most New Yorkers loved this.

Sadik-Khan was able to make that radical change because DOTs all over the country have absolute control of our streets. But of course most state and local DOTs worked to make driving better. The federal DOT handed out enormous sums for local DOTs to rebuild streets to Federal Level of Service standards. Traffic flow went up, and pedestrian safety went down. We now have a system where Americans drive everywhere for everything, and we consider it normal that we have 30,000-40,000 traffic deaths every year.

The De Blasio administration’s Vision Zero Pledge was another major step forward, a landmark decision in the history of American towns and cities. It officially announced a bold new standard for measuring the performance of our streets.

Vision Zero began in Sweden, where traffic engineers recognized that there are only two ways to reduce traffic deaths to zero: either slow the cars way down, or separate the people from the cars. No pedestrians are run over on limited-access highways, because there are no pedestrians there.

Anyone who visits American sprawl sees how thoroughly modern engineering separates cars from the people on many new roads. But while the idea is to make traffic flow like water, the reality is that when everyone drives everywhere we eventually cannot build roads big enough for all the traffic, and many roads become more like auto sewers than efficient pipes.

In New York City, Mayor Giuliani built metal fences in midtown to keep people from crossing anywhere but at the intersections, but it turned out that was not safe, because the fences made drivers think it was safe to go faster, and going faster meant that pedestrians hit at the intersections were more likely to die.

When I was a kid, Manhattan’s avenues were two-way, which makes cars go more slowly. DOTs told us one-way streets were safer, but they meant “safer for the cars to go faster.” In fact, making cars go faster is always worse for pedestrians, for three reasons: 1) a pedestrian hit by a car going 30 miles per hour is eight times as likely to die as a pedestrian hit by a car going 20 miles per hour, and a pedestrian hit by a car going 40 miles per hour is 17 times as likely to die; 2) a driver going 20 miles per hour sees three times as much as a driver going 40 miles per hour; and 3) a driver going 20 miles per hour has more time to react and can stop in approximately one-third the distance of a driver going 40 miles per hour.

Now we know that Vision Zero advocates are right: to stop pedestrian deaths on city streets, we must slow cars down. Even with the protected bike lanes, the improved one-way suburban-style arterials we are building now will never get us to zero traffic deaths. The turn lanes on the new arterials are dangerous for pedestrians and cyclists, and although we have a new 25-mile-per-hour speed limit, the traffic cameras don’t give out speeding tickets until 36 miles per hour. The protected bike lanes (which prevent the bikes from becoming MHOs), even combine with the turn lanes, bright striping, and bold graphics to make drivers very comfortable going 35 mph and faster. Getting to zero will require that traffic on most streets goes 20 mph or slower, as it does in the most advanced European cities. Speeding in cities is the new drunk driving.

When we slow the cars down to 20 or below, we no longer have to build auto sewers. Because the sole purpose of almost all the ugly detritus of modern roads is to make it safer for cars to go faster, and traffic engineers like the great Hans Monderman in Holland have proven that one of the best ways to slow cars down and save lives is to simply remove the striping, warning signs, stop lights and plastic sticks. Suddenly we can make beautiful streets where people want to get out of their cars and walk.

* * *
John Massengale is an architect and urban designer in New York City, co-author with Victor Dover of "Street Design, The Secret to Great Cities and Towns" and "New York 1900, Metropolitan Architecture and Urbanism 1890-1915," with Robert A.M. Stern and Gregory Gilmartin.

61 thoughts on “To Stop Pedestrian Deaths NYC Must Change How it Builds Streets

  1. I’ve never seen a document that refers to walking people as Moving Hazardous Objects. With slander the author does a disservice to a generally good point.

      • So right, AnoNYC. All articles but this one in a google search for “moving hazardous objects” are about the activity of moving hazardous objects, such as heavy obstacles on work sites. There’s enough bad about street design that we don’t have to create urban myths about how said designers disparaged persons who chose to transport themselves on foot.

  2. It’s about time to reduce the car culture in cities. It simply makes no sense in the population density of urban areas. This assessment does not even include the disastrous environmental effects of private car usage, the detrimental health effects of sedentary driving instead of walking, the stress, cost…

  3. It must be nice to be rich enough to live in Manhattan which has quite bit of public transportation. But for those that don’t, these ideas make no sense. Some people have to use a car because of pathetic public transportation in certain areas of the city. Foisting that on all parts of the city makes no sense. What the DOT is doing is using these excuses to make money. How many of those speed cameras are in Manhattan? They are almost in the outer boroughs, where again public transportation is not as good as in Manhattan. This may be a good idea in central Manhattan, but in most of the parts of the city it SUCKS

      • FYI, I spend more time riding my bike than driving my car. Any speed above 0mph is fast enough to kill. If someone trips and lands on their head they could potentially die from their injuries. The DOT is trying to hide behind a safety lie when all they want to do is make more money. You should ask them why they didn’t post specific speeds on specific roads before they lowered the limit. What their target speed was when they lowered the limit and what the current average speed is now that the limit is lower. That they are not doing that tells you have have no idea and are just spewing numbers based on no data or that data they did get does not support their incorrect theories.

      • Anything over 0 mph is fast enough to kill. So your statement makes no sense. You also make the incorrect ASSumption that going over an arbitrary speed means you are going to kill someone.

          • That assumes you get hit. It doesn’t tell you anything about the likelihood of getting hit. There is a point of diminishing returns. Also, traffic engineers take that into account when setting speed limits. It’s when you get ignorant politicians setting limits that you run into problems. All politicians want is money, even if their policies compromise safety.

          • There is a point of diminishing returns. Below 30 you are gaining very little for the amount of time wasted. Also, the bottom of the chart tells you how biased the authors are on the subject. I wouldn’t believe it. I would review the raw data and the methodology before giving their conclusions any credence.

          • Below 30 you are gaining very little

            A 40% drop in the likelihood of a crash being fatal to a pedestrian is “very little”?

            Also, the bottom of the chart tells you how biased the authors are on the subject

            How so? If you mean the title of the report, it’s a perfectly factual description of the findings.

            I would review the raw data and the methodology before giving their conclusions any credence

            Sure, do that, and let us know if you have any problems with it.

          • First, the numbers are based on getting hit. No argument there that getting hit at a lower speed is better than getting hit at a higher speed. That data tells you nothing about the likelihood of getting hit in the first place. There is no data presented to show that the likelihood of getting hit is higher at 30 than at 25.

            The title tells you they came to the conclusion first and then made the data fit their conclusion.

            I would review the data if they made it available. Where can I get it?

    • If we were successful discouraging car use, there would be more demand for public transit in the places where it’s sparse. in fact, I’m personally lukewarm on the notion that only reducing speeds is going to get us to zero fatalities. It may cut the number in half, but it won’t get us to zero. The only way NYC can approach zero fatalities is to reduce motor traffic volumes by 90% or more. We could do it if we made a concerted effort.

      • If you want people to use public transportation you need make it available first. It’s idiotic to just tell people to stop driving while not providing more public transportation that can handle the increased demand. Look at the 7 train in Queens. It is perpetually over crowded and the MTA knows it, but they have not done anything to keep up with the demand.

        You are right that reducing the speed limit will get us to zero. It will NEVER happen no matter how low a limit you set. It’s unrealistic and only an ignorant person would think it is possible. It is stupid to set unrealistic goals.

        You can’t reduce motor traffic in NYC by 90% in NYC. It will never happen. You might be able to do that in midtown Manhattan, which will just make that are of the city a place where only the super rich can live. The reason is that when you reduce the traffic you make getting goods in and out of the city much more expensive.

        Lastly, outside of midtown, the overwhelming majority of people are not going to give up their cars. A large number of people live outside of midtown and they won’t elect anyone into office who is going to tell them to stop driving their cars.

          • I’ve been driving over 30 years and mostly drive over 20mph and I’ve never killed anyone. I’ve never hit a pedestrian. Your logic makes no sense. Maybe you should learn a little about how traffic engineering and street design works before you say something that makes you look dumb.

          • It’s just a matter of time before lightening hits me. And a meteor falls on my head. You should be careful too.

          • Oops. You are right. I made an ASSumption and didn’t share it. How will you reduce traffic by 90%? The way politicians will do it is by charging money to get to the areas where you want less traffic. That extra cost will be passed along to the consumer. That is how it will make stuff more expensive.

          • Items are shipped in bulk and the costs are negligable as a result. Let’s congestion can actually increase commercial activity and eventually reduce costs too. Commercial vehicles can get exemptions to reduce the impact of tolling.

            Charging money to keep cars out of certain areas is a good idea (e.g. MoveNY).

          • In NYC store are smaller and have less storage space, so they need deliveries more often so their supplies come in smaller sizes. So the cost gets spread out over smaller amounts and it adds up.

            Charging to keep cars out of certain areas does work. It works to move the burden to a different neighborhood. That is treating the symptom instead of fixing the problem.

        • 1) Mass transportation in NYC is available everywhere. Bus routes virtually cover the entire city. The subway covers a significant portion.

          2) The MTA is continually upgrading and expanding mass transportation, albeit slowly. The 7 train is being upgraded with CBTC signal which will increase the number of trains per hour for example. In the East Bronx, new commuter rail stations are planned. SBS has been slowly but surely implemented on existing lines.

          3) Reducing the speed limit has proven effective in reducing collsions in other global cities with similar characteristics. BTW, 25 MPH is much faster than the average driving speed in NYC due to traffic control devices like stop signs and traffic lights. It doesn’t matter if you floor it between lights or gradually travel below the speed limit, the difference in arrival time will be miniscule.

          4) There are a lot of areas in NYC that can, should, and eventually will become pedestrianized.

          5) When you reduce traffic, goods are more likely to decline than increase in price. Reduced congestion saves businesses time to receive or make additional deliveries.

          6) NYC already has a low number of automobiles registered per household. There are ways to discourage ownership, both push and pull methods. You can pull people to car or ride share services, better mass transportation and bicycling; or you can push cars out of the city through increased cost and more limited space allocation for storage or movement. Both of these are happening.

    • The outer boroughs have excellent mass transportation and not all Manhattanites are rich. FYI, the vast majority of outer borough residents live within walking distance of rapid transit (subway).

      Anyway, once a larger percentage of the constituency takes mass transportation, it will only further pressure significant expansion.

      • One can Add that outer boros are all dense inner Ring suburbs (~30,000/sq mile) that have the perfect distances (1-4 miles) for using bicycles for the vast majority of trips.

        draw a 2 mile circle anywhere in Brooklyn, Queens, or the Bronx and you will encompass a vast variety of shopping, work, Entertainment, schools, recreation, and life.

        2 Miles on a Bild Is riden in 15 minutes by 57 year old self in a Coat & tie.

        the argument that the outer boros need to Support private Car travel at the level of some ex-urb in Columbus Is misplaced.

        • Spoken like someone who doesn’t live in the outer boroughs. Ask the people who live there now what they think of your idea. Not to mention that once there is snow on the ground, the overwhelming majority of people, even hard core cyclists, will not be riding their bikes. Are they all supposed to not go to work or school.

          Then you are forgetting that a large number of people who live in the outer boroughs work in Manhattan. While you might get a few folks out riding 2 miles. You are not going to get that same group to do 5, or more, miles to get to work.

          • If they want to Drive cars I am okay with that – just Eliminate all druving subsidies

            1) No street Parking anywhere ( stret space Is too valuable to allow people to store Their private property on them) Private Property can be Stored off the street.
            2) Raise city gas tax to cover full cost of maintaining streets, Pollution, and other negative externalities. City Gas tax would Add about $5-10 to a gallon of gas
            3) Toll Every bridge to cover future cost of replacement. ( Tappen Zee would Have a $20 toll )

            Eliminate subsidies for mass Motoring and people can Drive all They want in the outer boros

          • In the outer boroughs parking is plentiful, so there is nothing to gain by eliminating street parking. Doing something to spite drivers does not make our streets safer. Not to mention that now everything you buy would cost more since stores would need to provide parking for their customers.

            Yes, the gas tax needs to go up. But 5-10 is ridiculous, to say the least. If gas tax money went to actually maintain the roads instead of sidetracked for other uses, then you would not need to raise it by that much and our infrastructure would not be in the sad condition it is in right now.

            Tolling every bridge is stupid. It will add congestion and pollution with no benefits. It is smarter to just raise the gas tax to cover the costs.

            Look at the Port Authority to see how stupid it would be to toll the Tappan Zee at $20. The Port Authority is an agency out of control that wastes toll money and uses their power to wreak havoc on local traffic. Toll the bride to cover the cost of the bridge and maintenance.

          • 1. In some neighborhoods, that is correct.

            2. In some neighborhoods, that is incorrect.

            One solution does not fit all. That is what is being done. That is why it is STUPID.

          • why should New Yorkers who store their cars in paid private garages subsidize New Yorkers who store their cars on the street for free ?

            can I store my furniture on the street ?

          • Available parking is not plentiful in the outer boroughs, only in sections is it easier. It can be difficult to find a spot in much (more like most of the city). Additionally, why should all that land be dedicated to private automobile storage? Take into consideration that only a minority of residents drive and all the other purposes that land can serve.

            Most businesses in NYC (vast majority) rely on transit and walking customers over driving.

            The gas tax is unacceptably low and that is a bigger problem than it appears to be.

            Tolling bridges provides funding and discourages use. Tolls will eventually all be converted to overheard electronic payment which will reduce congestion and pollution (idling).

            Raising the gas tax alone does not discourage driving into ares like the CBD.

          • Not to mention that once there is snow on the ground, the overwhelming majority of people, even hard core cyclists, will not be riding their bikes. Are they all supposed to not go to work or school.

            Mass transportation, though this a poor excuse considering that New York City does not typically experience long periods of extended snow accumulation (last winter was uncommon). It’s already almost Christmas and it hasn’t snowed yet.

            The vast majority of automotive trips in NYC are approximately less than 5 miles, with a significant proportion under 3. Easily bikeable for most. This is why we must improve street safety, to encourage more bicycling to reduce congestion and other negative externalities of driving. Even if just 10% of New Yorkers biked rather than drive or take mass transportation, it would make an impact on congestion.

            The vast majority of New Yorkers (~90%) that work in Manhattan and live in the outer boroughs already take mass transportation, bike or walk to work there.

      • Just as an FYI, those maps the MTA puts out are not to scale. You obviously did not know that or else you would not say the outer boroughs have such great transportation. Try going out to Staten Island and taking a survey of the residents there to see what they think.

        Once again, people are not going to go out of their way and inconvenience themselves in the hopes that 10 years down the line they might get better public transportation. Public transportation does not go up overnight. It takes a lot of time and planning to do it. Just look at the 2nd ave line expansion. It’s been a long time and it is going to take longer.

        If you want more people out of their cars and in public transportation, then you need to have a plan in place BEFORE you expect them to do that. We’ve all be burned with lies by politicians before. No need to trust any now.

        • Most New Yorkers live near rail rapid transit. The vast majority of the most densely populated neighborhoods are located within one mile of rail rapid transit. These areas include all of Manhattan, the West Bronx, the East Bronx near the elevated lines, western Queens, and northern Brooklyn. There are comparatively dense areas beyond reasonable walking distance of rail rapid transit, but a smaller percentage of residents live in these areas.

          Staten Island has the lowest population in New York City, and obviously has different needs. Even on that island however, a significant population relies on mass transportation and walks.

          Mass transportation is also being upgraded and modified. The L train already has CBTC, the 7 train is under modification. SBS is being rolled out and the MTA is going to build commuter rail stations in the East Bronx. We also have new ferry stops to join existing down the line. It does take time, it too often takes too long, but by supporting automobiles the way we do we will never have the mass transportation system New Yorkers desire. That means less funding for automotive infrastructure, more restrictions, and more space dedicated for bus only lanes and other mass transportation facilities.

          This map proves my point. Darker color means high density.

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/83d70996715d4810cc391345d43cd21c2aee16f90a07be884210820ea5d4049b.jpg

          • bro is There are Key to colors ?

            i know the average densitue of each boro but this is a powerful texture

            Manhattan 70,000
            Brooklyn, Queens 30,000
            Bronx 20,900
            Staten Island 5,000

          • Tried to find the original page on Flickr without luck. I provided the direct link, maybe you can do better.

            Those density figures do not seem accurate though. SI is more like 10k per. Queens is less dense than the Bronx and Brooklyn, both of which are about equally dense (the Bronx is more dense when taking into consideration park land).

          • The Wikipedia articles for the District of Columbia and Staten Island have their respective densities at roughly 11,000 and 8,000 per square mile.

          • DC: 9,856.5 ppsm

            That is based on 2010 Census counts. The Wikipedia figure is based on Census 2015 population estimates. DC’s population has increased significantly since 2010. Using the 2014 Census population estimates (which seem to be what you’ve used above for New York) gives a density of about 10,800 per square mile for DC.

          • I’m sure the density is higher today. My point was that Staten Island shares a similar density to DC. It’s not a low density area like some believe.

          • One mile is a long distance to think someone will walk to get to public transportation. That adds at least a 1/2 hour each way to your commute. It’s not going to happen, and it doesn’t.

            You agree Staten Island is different, so why have the same traffic laws there that make no sense to the circumstances? When that happens the real purpose to the law becomes obvious, it’s to make money.

            It’s great that public transit is being improved. But it is not done yet. Until the capacity is there, don’t expect people to put up with the inconvenience.

            The real question to ask is where are all the drivers coming from and where are they going. That will tell you why they are driving instead to taking public transportation. That density map doesn’t answer that question.

          • One mile is not a long distance to rail rapid transportation, though it is longer than what most people are accustomed to in NYC. One mile without elevation is an 18-22 minute walk for most. Although the majority of New Yorkers live within 1 mile of rail rapid transit, most of that population resides within a .5 mile distance. The closer to transit, the more people.

            Staten Island is different but still urbanized. We’re talking Washington DC density and a population concentrated in the north.

  4. What about public awareness, How many people walk and text at the same time while not paying attention to traffic control devises. Or what about pedestrians who knowingly disobey traffic control devices because the chances of getting a ticket are zero to none. You can’t put all the blame on drivers.

    • The vast majority of pedestrians killed or seriously injured occur at intersections where they have priority. Typically a driver turning into a crosswalk.

      There is no evidence that electronic devices have made any impact on collisions between pedestrians and automobiles when used by pedestrians.

      In other words, it may not seem so, but pedestrians do look before entering the street while texting for example.

  5. Does anybody remember these empty words and flaccid Bills indignantly
    espoused in May 2014…?

    Check out the Streetsblog link and linger in the
    hypocrisy… lots of talk…no enforcement and basically photo ops for those who cannot seem to provide real pedestrian protection for their constituents. The DOT is busy as Pedestrian Plaza enablers sponsored by the NYEDC and in benefit to Business Improvement Districts…excuse me…but they are otherwise occupied…

    http://www.streetsblog

    “City Council Passes Several Bills to Reduce Reckless Driving”

    The City Council today passed a slate of bills and resolutions aimed at improving street safety.

    The 11 bills — outlined in detail here
    — include Intro 238, which would make it a misdemeanor for a driver to
    “make contact” with a pedestrian or cyclist who has the right of way,
    punishable by up to $500 in fines and 30 days in jail; and Intro 171,
    known as “Cooper’s Law,” which would suspend or revoke TLC licenses of
    cab drivers who are summonsed or convicted, respectively, of traffic
    violations stemming from crashes that result in critical injury or
    death.

    Council Member Mark Weprin, of Queens, cast the lone vote against
    Intro 171. Weprin said the bill comes too close to creating a strict
    liability standard — which, according to attorney and traffic law expert
    Steve Vaccaro, is exactly what New York State needs to reduce deaths and injuries.
    Weprin said he fears the law would punish some unfairly — that a
    driver’s career shouldn’t end because of one incident, and that a cabbie
    who rolls through a stop sign and causes a crash should not necessarily
    be subject to the same penalties as one who crashes while speeding.
    (The cab driver who killed Cooper Stock failed to yield and had an
    otherwise clean record.) “This is the livelihood of these drivers,” said
    Weprin. Council Members Vincent Gentile and Jumaane Williams abstained
    from voting on the bill.

    Other bills would combine points issued by the state DMV and the TLC
    against hack licenses and set new TLC license suspension and revocation
    standards; require the TLC to review and report on cab driver crashes
    and subsequent disciplinary actions; codify the number of Slow Zones DOT
    implements each year; codify DOT work zone safety standards; require
    DOT to study the safety of arterial streets, study safety issues
    pertaining to left turns by motorists, and inspect and/or repair broken
    traffic signals within 24 hours; and prohibit “stunt behavior” by
    motorcyclists.

    The bill to require the TLC to institute a one-year pilot program for
    “black box” technology to record and report taxi driver behavior was
    not on today’s agenda. TLC Commissioner Meera Joshi told the transportation committee in April that the agency has issued RFIs for the program, but she made no mention of the pilot in budget testimony before the council earlier this month.

    One bill in the transportation committee hopper not taken up today
    would mandate side guards for trucks to help prevent people from being
    swept beneath them. DOT asked that the council hold off on legislating
    truck guards in lieu of a pending study already underway within the
    department.

    The council approved resolutions asking Albany to grant the city
    control over speed and red light cameras, increase the penalty for
    driving on a sidewalk to $250 and three license points, make it a misdemeanor to
    violate the state’s vulnerable user law, increase the penalty for
    reckless driving that results in death or serious injury, and pass
    extant bills to increase penalties for leaving the scene of a crash.

    Also today:

    While voting in favor of all traffic safety bills, Council Member
    Andy King of the Bronx said that, as a motorist, he looked forward to
    seeing the city “hold pedestrians accountable for texting and walking.”
    Texting while walking is completely legal in NYC, and most
    pedestrian-involved crashes are caused by drivers breaking the law.

    Council Member Robert Cornegy lamented the “contentious effort” to
    bring a Slow Zone to Bedford-Stuyvesant, which he seemed to blame on
    DOT. Cornegy, who recently said he believes Select Bus Service and wider
    sidewalks impede commercial foot traffic, expressed skepticism of the community-driven Slow Zone process and DOT data.

    Council Member Laurie Cumbo of Brooklyn voted against the “stunt
    riding” bill, as she believed it would impose on “motorcycle culture,”
    and would lead to young people being arrested. The bill was intended to
    address behavior of dirt bike riders who take over streets, and even
    sidewalks, in NYC neighborhoods, particularly in Upper Manhattan, every
    year during warm weather months, and was proposed after a confrontation
    between motorcyclists and a family in an SUV resulted in serious injuries.”

  6. •Reconfigure streets to maximize safety (e.g. speed humps, curb extensions, chicanes, physically seperated bicycle lanes, reduce and narrow lanes, etc)

    •Pedestrianize significantly more streets.

    •Blanket the city with traffic enforcement cameras (red lights, speed, stop sign, pedestrian in crosswalk,or even blanket camera coverage of all streets).

    •Implement the MoveNY plan (Congestion charge+toll balance).

    •Eliminate parking minimums.

    •Institute a residential parking permit system which requires residency (less insurance fraud = less owners).

    •Increase the cost of on-street parking .

    •Increase the gas tax.

    •Encourage walkable, mass transportation oriented construction.

    •Discourage autocentric construction.

    •Expand and improve mass transportation.

    •Designate car share (E.g. Car2go) parking dispursed across communities to reduce incentive for ownership.

    •Expand Citi Bike.

    •More loading areas instead of parking.

    We won’t reach Vision Zero without these steps.

  7. There is no reason for every driver to have to drive at 20 mph, apparently assuming a collision is going to occur. Vision Zero, as wished for above, is the Volstead Act of autos. I deeply respect the idea of eliminating pedestrian deaths. But here are far more benign ways of doing that. We don’t need Prohibition, we need, among other things, balanced signage that ensures the pedestrian knows he needs to carefully gauge the position and speed of every oncoming car while stopped at the entrance to the crosswalk. We need only signalized crosswalks in cities, and full compliance with red lights on both sides. Obviously, speed can be a major factor, but an FMCSA report says it’s the cause of just under 10% of pedestrian deaths, not them all. Focus on smarter and less intrusive solutions. Vision Zero proponents would love the solution tried in Edwardian England. Every car needed a flagman waving a red flag walking in front. Let’s try that. It will be sure to solve the problem!

  8. This is utter non-sense, the statistics show most pedestrian accidents and fatalities happen because of the interest conflict between pedestrian signals that direct walking while traffic signal permit turning. It is a major blind spot for both the driver and the pedestrian when a vehicle is trying to make a left or right turn and the pedestrian is trying to cross a street at the intersection. The development and installation of intersection controls that separate the time for vehicles to move and pedestrians to cross is far more important that speed limits that are either rarely enforced or require a 1984 tier police state.

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