For immediate release: October 28, 2008
New Report Identifies Tri-State Region's Most Dangerous Roads for Pedestrians
Suburban routes top the list and point to need for redesigning roads with pedestrians in mind
The tri-state region’s most dangerous road for pedestrians is the Hempstead Turnpike in Nassau County, according to a new analysis by Tri-State Transportation Campaign, a policy watchdog organization.
Between 2005 and 2007, 15 pedestrians were killed along the 15-mile stretch of roadway, with most of those fatalities occurring as the road passes through Elmont, Franklin Square and Hempstead.
“The most dangerous roads are either extremely busy urban roads, such as 3rd Avenue in Manhattan, that handle many pedestrians and cars,” said Michelle Ernst, staff analyst with the Campaign. “Or, as with the case of Sunrise Highway in Suffolk County, they are major suburban roadways dotted with retail destinations but designed exclusively for fast-moving car traffic.”
The analysis found the region’s most dangerous roads for walking over the three-year period were:
The group called for a more balanced approach to designing suburban roads, especially on Long Island.
“It’s upsetting that roads on Long Island have more pedestrian fatalities than roads in dense urban areas, where people tend to walk much more.” said Ryan Lynch, Senior Planner and Long Island Coordinator for the Campaign. “It’s clear that the New York State Department of Transportation isn’t providing safe walking routes for Long Islanders. This needs to change.”
The group applauded efforts that are already underway to improve safety in many of these corridors. The New York City Department of Transportation, for example, has implemented several programs aimed at reducing pedestrian injuries and fatalities at targeted locations, including a Safe Routes for Seniors programs. Likewise, the state of New Jersey has made reducing pedestrian fatalities a statewide goal and sets aside significant funding for pedestrian safety projects. The state recently revamped its methodology for awarding state and federal safety funds to target places with the greatest need.
“While we have made some progress, these numbers clearly show that we aren’t out of the woods yet. With more people looking for transportation choices, we have to step up efforts to design more balanced, walkable streets,” said Kate Slevin, the Campaign’s executive director.
The Campaign’s analysis was conducted by Ernst and Michael Benediktsson, a Princeton University PhD candidate in sociology. The two used recently released data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) to determine which routes within each county had the highest number of pedestrian fatalities over the three-year period from 2005 to 2007. The analysis excludes Interstates and other roads where pedestrians are prohibited.
County fact sheets showing the most dangerous routes for walking are also available. The fact sheets also include a map showing the locations of each pedestrian fatality, with descriptive details for each victim killed on the county’s most dangerous route or routes.
The full report, as well as county fact sheets can be found at www.tstc.org/reports.html
The Tri-State Transportation Campaign is a non-profit organization working toward a more balanced, transit-friendly and equitable transportation system in Connecticut, New York and New Jersey.