Study Identifies Pedestrian Danger Zones

Safety Advocates Call on City to take Strong Actions

A new study by Transportation Alternatives exposes the ten most dangerous intersections for pedestrians in New York City. The corner of 42 Street and 8 Avenue, in front of the Port Authority Bus Terminal ties with the corner of E 33 Street and Park Avenue (Southbound). At both intersections a pedestrian was hit by a car almost once every month for the past five years, a total of 65 crashes each from January 1989 through August 1994.

Top Ten Most Dangerous New York Intersections

January '89-August '94
Crashes Intersection of And: Borough
65 8 Avenue W 42 Street Manhattan
65 E 33 Street Park Avenue (SB) Manhattan
61 8 Avenue W 34 Street Manhattan
56 Broadway W 34 Street Manhattan
52 Lenox Avenue W 125 Street Manhattan
48 3rd Avenue E 149 St/Melrose Bronx
43 3 Avenue E 23 Street Manhattan
43 Chrystie Street Grand Street Manhattan
43 Grand Concourse E 183 Street Bronx
42 Jamaica Avenue Parsons Blvd Queens

Based upon data from the NYS Department of Transportation-Division of Traffic and Safety

Transportation Alternatives, a 3,500 member NYC pedestrian safety group, is calling on the NYCDOT Commissioner Elliot Sander to act quickly and instruct his engineers to redesign these intersections to be safer for pedestrians.

"There are too many pedestrian death zones in NYC. The City could easily do a lot more to make intersections safer and crack down on dangerous drivers," said Paul Harrison, Transportation Alternatives Campaign Coordinator.

The study also found that pedestrians more often than not had the right of way when they are hit. 30.9 percent of pedestrians who are hit by cars in Manhattan are crossing with the light when they are hit. Compared with the 16.2 percent of pedestrians who are crossing against the light when hit, the findings show that the crosswalk haven is often violated by drivers, with disastrous results.

Pedestrian Accidents in Manhattan -

Action of Pedestrian When Accident Occurred

January 1989-August 1994
% of total % with cause Type
11.7 Unknown
30.9 35.0 Crossing with signal
16.2 18.3 Crossing against signal
2.3 1.7 Crossing with crosswalk, no signal
13.3 9.6 Crossing, no signal or crosswalk
1.0 0.8 Along highway with traffic
0.4 0.3 Along highway against traffic
6.8 5.5 Emerging from parked vehicle
0.1 0.1 Child on/off school bus
1.7 1.4 Child getting on/off vehicle
0.3 0.3 Pushing/working on car
1.6 1.4 Getting on/off vehicle
0.9 0.8 Playing in roadway
10.3 9.2 Other actions in roadway
2.5 2.4 Not in roadway

Analysis by Transportation Alternatives--from data provided by NYS Department of Transportation Division of Traffic Safety

"New York is 'America's Walking City', but we've got to do more to make it safer and easier to cross the street. Traffic is too fast, 'walk' cycles too short and the distance needed to cross the street too far for all but the most nimble and able bodied of us. For seniors, women pushing baby carriages and the young, it's impossible to cross the street safely in New York City," said Harrison.

Transportation Alternatives is calling on the City to redesign intersections and crossing times and to crack down on speeding, lawless cabbies and dangerous drivers. The city should:

Install Neckdowns. Neckdowns make the distance needed to cross shorter and slow turning cars, by extending the sidewalk into the parking lane at the corner.

Post Speed Limit Signs. New York City has fewer than one speed limit sign for every 11 miles of roadway. By comparison, Los Angeles has more than one sign for every half mile of roadway. Earlier this year, Transportation Alternatives offered a $25 bounty to anyone finding a speed limit sign between 60th St and Houston St in Manhattan, not including the FDR Drive or West Side Highway. Only one sign, at E 14 St and Avenue C, was found.

Enforce Traffic Laws. The city should vastly increase the number of its extremely successful red light cameras and institute a Photo Radar program, which catches speeders by taking pictures of their faces and license plates. The NYPD should redouble its efforts to collar unlicensed drivers, and confiscate their cars.

Re-time Signals. By taking another look at dangerous intersections, from a pedestrians first perspective, the DOT can re-time lights and limit vehicle turning movements to make crossing safer.

Appendix: Most Dangerous Intersections, By Borough

48 3rd Ave / E 149th St / Melrose Ave
43 Grand Concourse / E 183rd St
38 Bruckner Boulevard / Hunts Point Ave
33 Jerome Ave / Fordham Rd
33 Fordham Rd / Webster Ave
31 Grand Concourse / E 149th St
31 White Plains Rd / E 233rd St
29 University Ave / Tremont Ave
28 Broadway / W 231st St

40 Flatbush Ave / Fulton St / Nevins St
38 Atlantic Ave / Nostrand Ave
36 Flatbush Ave / Ave U
36 Broadway / Flushing Ave
31 Flatbush Ave / Church Ave
30 Eastern Pky / Utica Ave
30 Nostrand Ave / Fulton St
30 Broadway / Myrtle Ave

65 8th Ave / W 42nd St
65 Park Ave (southbound) / E 33rd St
61 8th Ave / W 34th St
56 6th Ave / Broadway / W 34th St
52 Lenox Ave / W 125th St
43 3rd Ave / E 23rd St
43 Chrystie St / Grand St
41 9th Ave / W 42nd St
41 8th Ave / W 23rd St
40 3rd Ave / E 14th St
39 42nd Street between 8th and 9th Ave
39 5th Ave / 42nd St
39 34th Street between 5th and 6th Ave
38 Amsterdam Ave / W 125th St
38 34th Street between 7th and 8th Ave
38 Avenue D / E Houston St / Columbia St