Photo: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office on Flickr
Last year, New York City experienced the highest level of traffic fatalities in over a decade, a majority of which took place at street intersections. Mayor Eric Adams on Wednesday announced a plan to better protect pedestrians, including improving the design of 1,000 intersections across the city, constructing 100 raised crosswalks annually, and enforcing a new traffic rule that requires drivers and cyclists to fully stop for pedestrians when traffic controls are not in place.
According to Adams, 79 percent of pedestrian injuries and 55 percent of fatalities occur at intersections. The intersection of Caton and Coney Island Avenues in Kensington, the site of the mayor’s press conference on Wednesday, saw 26 injuries in the past five years.
“The prerequisite to prosperity is public safety and justice,” Adams said. “Sometimes when we think about public safety we think about the gun violence that we are witnessing in our city, but it is also about the traffic crashes.”
Under the plan, the mayor and the Department of Transportation said the design of 1,000 intersections across the city will be reimagined, with a focus on streets where fatalities and injuries occurred. These include new turn signals and giving pedestrians a head start when crossing before vehicles are allowed to turn.
The agency will also construct 100 raised crosswalks to curb level each year, which serve as a speed bump to slow drivers and install at least bike corrals, which provide parking spaces for bikes, at 100 intersections.
A new traffic rule took effect Wednesday that requires drivers and cyclists to fully stop–not only yield–when a pedestrian is crossing at an intersection without a traffic signal or stop sign. DOT will kick off a new public awareness campaign, “Stop. Let Them Cross., to highlight the new rule to drivers and the importance of slowing down.
The actions come as Adams’ attempts to “turbo-charge” Vision Zero, an initiative adopted by former Mayor Bill de Blasio in 2014 that drew criticism for having little success in stopping fatal crashes.
“Nearly a month ago, Arcellie ‘Celi’ Muschamp tragically lost her life to a reckless driver on 5th Avenue and Union Street in my district. This community knows all too well the toll traffic violence can take and the desperate need to achieve Vision Zero,” Council Member Shahana Hanif said.
“I am pleased to see the DOT implementing a few of the proposals I called for just this past Tuesday, such as daylighting intersections and improving street designs, especially with leading pedestrian intervals. By taking these important steps, we can prevent future tragedies and ensure our streets are safe for everyone.”
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