Brooklyn Boro

‘Vision Zero’ pedestrian safety plan pinpoints Brooklyn’s trouble spots

One Pedestrian Every 3 Days Seriously Injured or Killed

February 20, 2015 By Raanan Geberer Brooklyn Daily Eagle
This “Vision Zero” map shows Priority Corridors and intersections that will be targeted. © 2015 Google Maps photo
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Reaction has been positive in the borough to the Brooklyn Pedestrian Safety Action Plan, which was unveiled on Thursday by NYC Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg and NYPD’s Patrol Borough Brooklyn North Deputy Inspector Amin Kosseim.

The plan identifies Brooklyn’s most dangerous corridors, intersections and areas, which are clearly identified in the plan’s Brooklyn Priority Map. The announcement was held at Brooklyn Ascend Charter School in Brownsville, where the Department of Transportation (DOT) will install a midblock pedestrian safety median, traffic signal and a new crosswalk on Rockaway Parkway this year.

Rockaway Parkway is identified as a “Priority Corridor,” meaning that it historically had high rates of death and severe injury to pedestrians.  Priority corridors, intersections and areas will be the focus of future engineering and planning, education and enforcement activity.  An average of 46 pedestrians were killed in Brooklyn each year in the three-year period from 2011 to 2013.

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While pedestrian fatalities in the borough have decreased 49 percent in the past 30 years, still, an average of one pedestrian every three days is seriously injured or killed.

According to the study, the highest crash locations in the borough are Sunset Park, Crown Heights, Brownsville, South Williamsburg and Bushwick, as well as on major “arterial” streets like Ocean Parkway, Kings Highway, Flatbush Avenue and Atlantic Avenue. The study points out that many of these streets were originally laid out well before Brooklyn’s various street grids, and often intersect streets on the grid at odd angles.

Also, while seniors are only 12 percent of the borough’s population, they make up 36 percent of crash victims. Schoolchildren on their way to and from school are another “at risk” group.

Only 20 percent of traffic fatalities occur during busy rush hours — most occur during “off-peak” hours, especially late at night, when pedestrians and drivers are not on their guard. Dangerous driving choices were the main cause of 65 percent of the accidents, according to the study. 

Overall, the plan identified 49 Priority Corridors, 91 Priority Intersections and 18 square miles of “Priority Areas” (see map) where crashes that severely injure or kill pedestrians are concentrated. Sixty-one percent of all pedestrian fatalities from 2009-13 were concentrated within these priority geographies. The 49 Priority Corridors consist of just 9 percent of the borough’s total street mileage, but contain half of the borough’s total pedestrian fatalities and severe injuries.

Among the plan’s recommendations are to implement at least 50 safety engineering improvements citywide, to lengthen exclusive pedestrian crossing time on all Brooklyn priority corridors by the end of 2017, coordinate with the MTA to ensure that bus operations contribute to a safe environment, implement speed cameras and priority locations, target NYPD traffic enforcement to priority areas and more.     

Officials from throughout the borough were quick to praise the new proposals.

“I’m particularly pleased with the attention that will be given to priority areas like Bedford-Stuyvesant, Borough Park, Brownsville and Sunset Park, communities that have high rates of pedestrian fatalities and serious injuries but historically have not received the attention they deserve,”  said Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams.

“Through community engagement, we are now equipped with the necessary data to make improvements in areas that will make the greatest impact and increase pedestrian safety,” said Councilmember Laurie Cumbo (D-Crown Heights/Fort Greene). 

“As the Councilman of one of the city’s most senior populated districts, I am especially attuned to the disproportionately high number of seniors involved in vehicular accidents. The plan that the mayor and commissioner are unveiling today will address some of my biggest concerns with regard to safety,” said Councilmember Chaim Deutsch (D-Coney Island/Gravesend).

“We must all work together towards making our streets a safe place where pedestrians, cyclists and motorists can all co-exist peacefully and responsibly,” said Councilmember Vincent Gentile (D-Bay Ridge/Dyker Heights).

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