The Safe Routes for Seniors program branched off into a new campaign in the winter of 2006 called "Elder Districts". This campaign was started in response to both the growing number of senior citizens in New York City and the distinct needs of senior pedestrians that are currently not being met. Not only are New Yorkers living longer, but they are "aging in place" or staying in the same apartments they have had for many years. In addition, research has shown that many older adults outlive their driving ability by 8-10 years, making walking one of the best forms of exercise and transportation.
Elder Districts may best be compared to school zones or historic districts. The idea is that where there is the presence of senior centers and senior service providers, where there is a large population of seniors, or if there are high rates of injuries and fatalities, an area will be designated an Elder District. This means the streets that make up this area will be modified specifically for the elderly and people with mobility and visual impairments.
The Elder District street improvements closely follow the design standards put forward by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) with an additional effort to incorporate the specific recommendations put forward by the seniors that work with the Safe Routes for Seniors team. The Elder District street improvements are based on the street life of New York City, but can easily be transferred to any place. In closing, as we have always said with this program, making streets safe for seniors means making streets safe for everyone.
The links below provide information in the form of Power Point presentations on the Elder District program.
State Senator Liz Krueger sponsored this presentation at the Municipal Arts Society for Transportation Alternatives to brief elected officials and their representatives of 14 th Street to 155 th Street in Manhattan on the Elder District project.