Mayor Adams to Increase Pedestrian Safety at 1,000 Intersections

Mayor Adams to Increase Pedestrian Safety at 1,000 Intersections

By Yehudit Garmaise

The NYC Department of Transportation (DOT) will be making major design improvements at 1,000 intersections, where 79% of pedestrian injuries and 55% of pedestrian deaths occur on New York City streets, Mayor Eric Adams announced this morning.

The mayor spoke at the intersection of Caton Avenue and Coney Island Avenue because he said the location has tragically been the site of 26 injuries and five deaths in the past five years.

“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 Adams said.

Among the DOT’s proposed design improvements at intersections where serious injuries and deaths have occurred include: increased time and space to provide pedestrians with “headstarts” to enter intersections before cars can turn, new traffic signals, raised crosswalks that both serve as speed bumps and accessibility to New Yorkers who are handicapped, and physical measures that slow drivers’ turns.

“Research has shown that drivers take turns more slowly and deliberately when physical elements are in place to force turns at more appropriate speeds,” said DOT Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez, who committed to doubling previous efforts to slow drivers’ turns by creating physical-slowing barriers at 100 intersections in 2022. 

Also by the end of 2022, the DOT will install more than 10,000 bicycle racks at bike corrals at least 100 intersections citywide to provide better visibility for drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians, while also preventing drivers from cutting corners and turning too quickly: a practice that particularly puts the elderly and children at risk, Mayor Adams said.

Because intersections near gas stations and parking lots that have lowered curbs have shown to be dangerous for pedestrians when drivers take them to avoid traffic, the DOT also has pledged to reduce the “curb cuts” that encourage “short-cuts.”

“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,” said Mayor Adams, who added that he would like to encourage New Yorkers to walk and bike more often, however, the high number of pedestrian fatalities at the moment do not make such activities advisable.

The price unyielding drivers will pay will come in the form of tickets, as the mayor announced that starting today, the NYPD will immediately increase its enforcement against drivers who fail to completely stop at the city’s 1,200 crosswalks that do not have four-way stop signs nor have functioning traffic lights. 

Under the new rule, the mayor said, drivers and cyclists who pass through intersections that are not controlled by stop signs and traffic lights must not simply yield, they must but come to complete stops until pedestrians have completely crossed the streets. 

“The NYPD will be relentless in enforcing the laws, including this new rule that protects pedestrians crossing city intersections,” said NYPD Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell.

In 2022, the NYPD has set a goal to double last year’s Failure-to-Yield enforcement efforts, and along with the DOT, the police department announced a new public awareness campaign called “Stop. Let Them Cross,” which reminds drivers to slow down, remain aware of pedestrians, and to stop for pedestrians in uncontrolled intersections. 

“Our goal is to be clear: people must learn the rules of the road, or get off the road, and that is the message we are sending out,” said Mayor Adams. 

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