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Posts tagged "Pedestrian Safety"

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“The Pedestrian Crush” on 34th & 7th Avenue

Although there is undoubtedly an amazing streets renaissance going on in NYC, there still remain places in dire need of improvement.  Heavily-used areas like the blocks surrounding Penn Station area from 4 to 7 PM on weekdays are overwhelmed with pedestrians making their way home to via a network of subways, NJ Transit, the Long Island Railroad, Amtrak and catching myriad buses.  The sidewalks are so clogged by this "crush of humanity" that people are forced to walk in the streets.  If you've never seen it or fear claustrophobia, get ready.

Our Executive Director Mark Gorton recently went out to the sample the atmosphere on a typical weekday commuter night and posits that we can do much better in our choice of allocation of street space.  His words sum it up nicely:

The reason it's so crowded here is not because there's not enough space, it's because we give all of our space to the least spatially-efficient form of transportation available.

Of course he is referring to the automobile, especially the single-occupant vehicle.  Oddly enough, I did a PSA over three years ago which aired during our initial NYCSR campaign launch.  I filmed most of it in the same location.  And it still looks much the same, perhaps worse.

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After School with Livable Streets Education

This spring, Livable Streets Education worked with teacher Tim Devaney at De La Salle Academy in Manhattan to bring real world issues into the classroom and the classroom out into the real world.  This afterschool program allowed students to explore, observe and interact with the streets and public space around their school, and provided first hand lessons in science, sustainability, civics and language arts.  Get in touch to bring Livable Streets Education to your school, public event or other great venue for livable streets learning.

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Making Streets Safer for Seniors

Transportation Alternatives' Safe Routes for Seniors campaign started in 2003 to encourage senior citizens to walk more by improving their pedestrian environment. Funded by the New York State Department of Health's Healthy Heart program, this was the first program of its kind to address the needs of elderly pedestrians.

In 2008, the City of New York launched its own Safe Streets for Seniors initiative based on TAs Safe Routes for Seniors. Focusing on 25 areas with high senior pedestrian fatalities, this program is paving new ground. Yet, some including seniors not in these zones are asking, is it enough? Stats released by Transportation Alternatives show that:

  • People aged 65 years and older make up 12% of the population, yet they comprised 39% of New York City's pedestrian fatalities between 2002 and 2006.
  • The fatality rate of senior pedestrians is 40 times greater than that of child pedestrians in Manhattan.

This video is an overview of what Transportation Alternatives, New York State Department of Health, NYC DOT, community groups, and elected officials are doing to promote safe streets for seniors.

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Seattle Crosswalk: Tap foot, Lights blink, Cross street

Along Seattle's historic waterfront I happened upon a unique pedestrian-activated crosswalk that blinks as people cross. Yes, I have seen over a dozen lighted ped signals before in myriad cities, but all required the user to press a button to manually begin the cycle. So, you ask, how is this one different?

Well check this out - as you enter the crosswalk make sure you touch the yellow rectangle on the sidewalk. This activates the lights that line the crosswalk. Drivers stop and it should be safe to begin your adventure: you'll feel a bit like an airplane coming in for a landing. Frankly, it's very empowering and a lot of fun!

Reason dictates that A) there must be a sensor contained within the yellow pad, or B) there's a helpful gremlin who lives underneath and throws a switch for pedestrians. Regardless, anyone else seen one like it in their town?

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The Transformation of NYC’s Madison Square

We figured we'd hit at least one spectacularly warm day during the doldrums of winter, and yesterday was it. So Streetfilms ventured out to Madison Square to remind the denizens of Gotham just how sassy some of these new public spaces are - and how much support they have.

We already touched on Madison Square in our in-depth interview with Janette Sadik-Khan last fall, but we always felt that it deserved a much closer examination based upon all the footage we couldn't use in that Streetfilm. In fact, I feel like even at this length, this short doesn't really do it justice. It also hit me while editing that I've started to forget what an ugly nightmare that nexus of Broadway & 23rd used to look like. Chances are you have to, so here is a reminder of the great work NYC DOT has done there. Take a gander, then go out in your community or city and spread the word that well designed public spaces work.

StreetFilms
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Daylighting: Make Your Crosswalks Safer

Daylighting is a simple pedestrian safety measure achieved by removing parking spaces adjacent to curbs around an intersection, increasing visibility for pedestrians and drivers and minimizing conflicts. It's beneficial to young and old, but is especially helpful to children, who often cannot see, or be seen by, oncoming traffic. By removing parking adjacent to the crosswalk, the child does not have to wade into the street to see vehicles entering the intersection. At the same time, drivers don't have to roll into the crosswalk to see if pedestrians are waiting to cross.

Compare the photos below, showing the sight line difference with and without a parked car.

Neighborhoods around NYC and beyond are nearly shouting for daylighting to be implemented for safer streets. Streetfilms went to Brooklyn, Queens and Manhattan to check out what some neighborhood leaders have to say. And though we love the concept, we think the term, Daylighting, is a little stale. So how about some suggestions? As you'll see, we came up with one, "Pedestrian Peek-a-boo," but we're sure there are others out there.

Learn about daylighting on Streetswiki.

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NYC Street Memorial 2008

On Sunday, the Street Memorial Project held its 4th annual ride/walk to honors cyclists and pedestrians that have been killed on New York City's streets. There were three feeder rides and a walk in chinatown. Last year I made a video on the ride. After realizing that a pedestrian is killed on average every other day in NYC, I was drawn to the walk this year.

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LA Gets Diagonal Crosswalks (again)

In an effort to improve pedestrian safety and traffic flow, the City of Los Angeles recently installed ten diagonal crosswalks/pedestrian scrambles/Barnes dances (just pick one, they all mean the same) around the metro area. We were able to check one out with Glenn Ogura of LADOT near the USC campus to learn a little bit about them. Golly Jeepers! During some light phases, we saw well over 100 people taking over the intersection - just take a gander at the video.

But as it turns out, this new idea is something old. Thanks to some nifty sleuthing, Eric Richardson of blogdowntown uncovered the fact that the downtown LA area was once littered with two dozen diagonal crosswalks in the late 1950s. Removed in 1958 because a city engineer's report found they impeded car traffic flow, the lesson is obvious: let's not wait another fifty years to deploy a tool to keep pedestrians safe.

And if you want to watch something that now seems extra silly now, we did something fun on Barnes Dances early in the year. You have been warned.

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Queens Boulevard: Complete Street Campaign Rally

Last February, 22-year-old Asif Rahman was hit and killed by a truck while riding his bicycle on Queens Boulevard. Though the infamous "Boulevard of Death" is a lot safer than it used to be, it still produces far too many injuries. According to the chart below from crashstat.org before Queens Boulevard underwent some street redesign there were about 150 cyclist and pedestrian injuries. Now, roughly 100 bicyclists and pedestrians are struck on the Boulevard each year. Asif's family, Council member Jim Gennaro, and Transportation Alternatives held a press conference yesterday, calling on New York City government to transform Queens Boulevard into a "complete street," with a physically-protected bike lane and safer pedestrian crossings. Queens Council Members John Liu and Eric Gioia also signed on to a letter urging Mayor Bloomberg to complete Queens Boulevard.

crash stats graph

StreetFilms
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LPI – Leading Pedestrian Interval

Leading Pedestrian Intervals (or LPIs) are a traffic signalization strategy that assigns pedestrians an exclusive 3 to 5 second signal (in some cases much longer) to begin crossing the street before cars get a green light. Consequently, they are also known by their sassier nickname, Pedestrian Head Start. But in my view the best variation on what LPI stands for comes from Christine Berthet of the Hells Kitchen Neighborhood Association who proposes: "Life Preserving Interval". That's what it is.

Transportation Alternatives has recently begun a push to make these more common in NYC. Here's hoping our video (featuring some nice visuals from TOPP's own Carly Clark) can help aid the case and explain what this arcane phrase means.

StreetFilms
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Hike the Heights!

Hike the Heights is a yearly guided urban hiking safari for kids thru Morningside Heights, following along paths defined by the presence of statues of giraffes. The object is to encourage fitness as well as promoting fun and education. The event, sponsored by CLIMB (City Life is Moving Bodies), connects numerous parks in the Harlem area.

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Melbourne: A Pedestrian Paradise

Finally cajoled into taking the long trip to Melbourne, I was told to expect a city where walking abounded, where the streets were flowing with energy, where the quality of public space would blow my mind. Little did I know my already high expectations would be pleasantly exceeded.

Melbourne is simply wonderful. You can get lost in the nooks and crannies that permeate the city. As you walk you feel like free-flowing air with no impediments to your enjoyment. For a city with nearly 4 million people, the streets feel much like the hustle and bustle of New York City but without omnipresent danger and stress cars cause.

Read more...

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Crosswalks #1

With all the great achievements that are abounding in the livable streets movement, sometimes we need to revisit reality. Recently, I stumbled upon a cache of traffic b-roll I was gathering during the summer of cars infringing on pedestrian rights. I'll gamble we've all seen worse scenes, probably daily, but it just got me a little mad.

So to our leaders who are debating - and frankly many throwing up roadblocks to - congestion pricing: take a look and stop worrying about the fraction of NYC drivers you are protecting. It's obvious - a serious congestion pricing plan would definitely benefit pedestrians and alleviate some of the everyday, dangerous gridlock we navigate.

Please note: every shot in this montage is while the pedestrian has the right of way. And yeah, as bad as this footage is, New Yorkers know it is only the tip of the everyday iceberg. If we really wanted to, we could shoot one of these per day and post them. Thus, this gets the "#1" in the title.

StreetFilms
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2007 NYC Street Memorial Ride & Walk

On Sunday, January 6th, over two hundred people gathered to remember New Yorkers who were killed while biking and walking. The Street Memorial Project lead the 3rd Annual Memorial Ride & Pedestrian Memorial Walk to honor those killed. In 2007, 23 bicyclists and over 100 pedestrians died on NYC streets.

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The Street Memorial Project (NYC)

In 2007, the Street Memorial Project, a joint effort from Visual Resistance, Transportation Alternatives, and Time's Up! was established to honor pedestrians killed on NYC streets. An outgrowth from the Ghost Bike movement, a plaque is usually placed at the site indicating: date of the fatality, manner of death, and age of the victim.

Please join the 3rd Annual Ride, Walk and Rally to Remember this Sunday to honor those who were killed riding a bike or walking in NYC this past year.