On Tuesday, New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) officials announced a new pilot program that allows bicyclists to follow pedestrian head-start signals at 50 intersections throughout Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens, AM New York reports. The signals at those intersections have a range of 7 to 11 seconds–known as leading pedestrian intervals (LPI)–before drivers can proceed through the intersections or make turns through crosswalks. Now bike riders can follow these pedestrian signals instead of traffic lights (legally, that is), giving cyclists the safety benefits of added visibility that pedestrians have at those intersections.
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New York clocks in more steps on average than any other state in the country, and that number is most definitely skewed by New York City where more residents hit the pavement than the gas pedal. But in a town that’s seemingly dominated by pedestrians, car culture maintains the right of way. According to Vision Zero, NYC’s program to reduce traffic-related fatalities, being struck by a vehicle is the leading cause of injury-related death for children under 14, and the second leading cause for seniors.
Providing more public space for pedestrians has become an increasing concern for the city over the last decade, and as such, a multitude of plans have been put forward to create sanctuaries from traffic or to reconfigure streets to keep people safe. But beyond preventing traffic accidents, by planting more trees, expanding sidewalks and bike paths, and installing seating, these urban renewal projects have also been key in promoting walking, biking, health and ultimately a more desirable and habitable New York City.
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