New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan and City Council Transportation Committee Chair James Vacca today announced that pedestrian countdown signals are being installed at 49 intersections along the Bronx’s Grand Concourse to help pedestrians safely cross at intersections from East 140th Street to Mosholu Parkway. Commissioner Sadik-Khan also announced that work is under way to install countdown signals at 1,500 intersections citywide identified in last year’s landmark Pedestrian Safety Study & Action Plan. From 2005-2009, Grand Concourse had 411 pedestrian injuries and nine pedestrian fatalities, highlighting the need to enhance safety. Citywide, DOT recently installed signals in Queens along stretches of Queens Boulevard, Hillside Avenue and Kissena Boulevard, and also along West Street in Manhattan. In coming months, installations will come to 4th Avenue in Brooklyn and on Hylan and Father Capodanno boulevards on Staten Island. The Commissioner made the announcement outside The Bronx Museum of Art, a popular pedestrian destination at Grand Concourse and 165th Street.
“Countdown signals take the guesswork out of crossing the street,” said Commissioner Sadik-Khan. “New York City streets have never been safer and this technology is something that pedestrians can count on.”
“Speeding and reckless driving kills, and these pedestrian countdown signals will savelife and limb up and down the Grand Concourse, which is one of the most deadly thoroughfares in our borough,” said Council Member Vacca. “Nothing is more dangerous than when our elderly or children get stuck in the middle of an intersection and the light changes on wide streets. It’s like getting stuck on a raceway, and your only hope is running for safety. Pedestrian countdown signals give New Yorkers the information they need to make the safe choice, which often means waiting for the next light on streets like the Grand Concourse.”
DOT pilot study completed last year found that countdown signals were effective at helping pedestrians avoid getting caught in the middle of a crosswalk when the signal changes, and particularly at wider streets. DOT is installing countdown signals at 1,500 intersections along major corridors citywide, a major initiative outline in the DOT’s 2010 Pedestrian Safety Study and Action Plan. The study was based on an examination of over 7,000 crashes causing serious injuries or fatalities to pedestrians and identifies underlying causes. The analysis found that serious pedestrian crashes are about two-thirds deadlier on major street corridors than on smaller local streets or specific intersections. Other safety steps as part of the agency’s action plan include the upcoming pilot program in Claremont, the Bronx, to test the city’s first residential 20 mph speed zone. DOT also launched an ad campaign called “That’s Why it’s 30” to educate New Yorkers on the speed limit and inform them of the dangers of speeding.
Since announcing the program last year, DOT has started installing pedestrian countdown signals at high-pedestrian crash locations in all five boroughs. Implementation of all 1,500 intersections began this summer and will continue into next year. A map of planned locations for pedestrian countdown signals and further information on the Pedestrian Safety Study and Action Plan as well as the DOT’s anti-speeding campaign can be found at www.nyc.gov.