NYC DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg and NYPD’s Transportation Chief Thomas Chan today unveiled the first of five borough Pedestrian Safety Action Plans that establish a comprehensive set of actions for DOT, NYPD, and other agencies and serve as the next major step in achieving Vision Zero. The Borough Plans are one of 63 Vision Zero initiatives announced last year. The plans were developed by integrating detailed crash analysis with input from 28 Vision Zero town halls and public workshops, including over 10,000 comments submitted by New Yorkers.
This analysis and input resulted in the identification of Queens’ most dangerous corridors, intersections, and areas, which are clearly identified in the plan’s Queens Priority Map. The announcement was held at Hammond Public School 82 in Jamaica, near the intersection of Metropolitan and Hillside avenues in Kew Gardens, the location of a major intersection redesign project scheduled for implementation this year. Both Hillside Avenue and Metropolitan Avenue are identified in the plans as “Priority Corridors,” meaning that they have historically had high rates of death and severe injury to pedestrians. Priority corridors, intersections, and areas will be the focus of future engineering & planning, education, and enforcement activity. An average of 43 pedestrians are killed in Queens each year in the three year period from 2011 to 2013 and pedestrians make up 55% of all traffic fatalities in the borough.
“We launched Vision Zero in Queens a year ago and today we proudly return to the world’s borough to release the first of our five groundbreaking Borough Pedestrian Safety Action Plans,” said NYC DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg. “These Borough Plans combine cutting edge data analysis and community input from thousands of New Yorkers in all five boroughs. They will help the City target its engineering, enforcement, and education efforts to make New York’s streets the safest in the world.”
“The Borough Pedestrian Safety Plans are another step forward in our collaborative goal of achieving Vision Zero,” said NYPD Chief of Transportation Thomas Chan. “They are a manifestation of the city’s strong commitment and dedication to Vision Zero and will assist the NYPD in deployment of its traffic safety resources. The plans will also draw awareness to Vision Zero and the unified approach to making our roadways safer.”
“Borough pedestrian plans like the one released today will give elected officials, community boards, and residents alike the data we need to know exactly where our resources should go to achieve Vision Zero,” said New York City Council Transportation Committee Chairman Ydanis Rodriguez. ”By targeting certain neighborhoods, intersections, and roads we will ensure that Vision Zero is one step closer to reality.”
“I support Mayor de Blasio’s Zero Vision Action Plan and his administration’s efforts to reduce the number of automobile related accidents throughout the City of New York,” said U. S. Representative Gregory W. Meeks. “The City’s Queens Borough Pedestrian Plan advances public safety and promotes better use of our City’s streets and thoroughfares. Families, seniors, and children, especially those living near “Priority Corridors” in Flushing, Jamaica and Elmhurst, will greatly benefit from these efforts to coordinate public resources to improve the walkability of New York City.”
“Today’s announced Queens Pedestrian Safety Action Plan will make our borough safer for pedestrians and for drivers,” said Council Member Costa Constantinides. “I am proud that our city’s Vision Zero initiative will bring safety projects, integrated public education and awareness, greater enforcement, and better street planning and engineering to Queens. The Intersection Safety Improvements on Astoria Boulevard at 31st & 33rd Streets will greatly impact traffic safety in our community. I thank Mayor De Blasio and Commissioner Trottenberg for their bold vision on pedestrian safety. I look forward to working with the DOT, NYPD, and others on implementing Vision Zero throughout our city.”
“Thanks to the leadership of Mayor de Blasio and the Vision Zero reforms, New York is now a much safer city for pedestrians,” said Council Member Elizabeth Crowley. “However, too many accidents and pedestrian fatalities are still happening here in Queens. I look forward to working with the administration to implement this bold borough-wide plan that will target our most dangerous corridors and make our streets safer.”
“This is a comprehensive plan designed to keep the people of Queens safe,” said Council Member Peter Koo. “With pedestrian fatalities at a record low, I commend Mayor de Blasio and his administration for aggressively seeking to bring the number to where it should be: zero.”
“I want thank Mayor de Blasio for his Vision Zero comprehensive plan,” said Council Member Karen Koslowitz. “I’m happy he is starting in my district and I know great things will come from this plan, which will save pedestrians’ lives. I’m looking forward to seeing the safety of many roadways being addressed.”
“Today’s announcement of a Queens Borough Pedestrian Safety Plan is good news for pedestrians, bicyclists and motorists, and furthers our commitment to zero fatalities on our streets,” said Council Member Rory Lancman. “Queens Boulevard and Hillside Avenue in my district are particularly good places to build on our successes of last year in reducing traffic fatalities, and I am grateful that Mayor de Blasio and Commissioners Trottenberg and Bratton are making these critical — and often dangerous — transportation corridors a priority in implementing this next phase of Vision Zero.”
“There is nothing more valuable than human life,” said Council Member Donovan Richards. “A commitment to rapid transit does not have to come at the expense of injury to seniors, school children or bikers. “It is critical that as we invest to improve our City’s transportation infrastructure we include measures that keep all New Yorkers safe. I applaud Mayor Bill de Blasio for his comprehensive approach to ensuring that our streets are safer and more pedestrian friendly while still continuing efforts to build more efficient and reliant transportation.”
“Making our streets safer is job number one and I applaud Commissioner Trottenberg and DOT for staying the course on safety. By implementing a coordinated plan to address the borough’s most dangerous areas we are giving Queens residents the additional layers of protection and safety improvements our residential streets need to save more lives,” said New York City Council Majority Leader Jimmy Van Bramer. “Together, with the extensive feedback our City has received from communities throughout the borough, we will build on our City’s success of implementing Vision Zero and a put an end to the pedestrian fatalities and serious injuries we experience in our neighborhoods.”
“Pedestrian safety must be a top priority for the City. NYC DOT’s research found that an average of 43 pedestrians have been killed in Queens each year and pedestrians are 54 percent of all traffic fatalities in the borough,” said State Senator Jose Peralta. “The people of Queens deserve immediate action on these welcomed comprehensive changes. I look forward to working with the City on the implementation of its plan to improve the safety of our streets.”
“Queens is home to the most dangerous streets in the city and I am proud to have worked with Mayor de Blasio to address an issue that has meant life or death for Queens residents,” said State Senator Michael Gianaris. “I look forward to continuing to improve traffic safety throughout Queens, particularly in western Queens where improvements like the Pulaski Bridge bike lane and a safer intersection at Astoria Boulevard and 31st Street will dramatically increase safety for local residents.”
“Since Vision Zero was first unveiled, I have been committed to working with city and state agencies to make our streets safer,” said Assemblywoman Nily Rozic. “For us, the tragic loss of Allison Liao has served as a reminder of how we must act quickly to implement Vision Zero initiatives to prevent future incidents and protect families. I am pleased to see the Queens Pedestrian Safety Action Plan unfold and I look forward to working with Mayor de Blasio to ensure its success,”
“The Borough of Queens, particularly the Assembly district where I represent has its share of dangerous roadways and intersections that pose significant safety concerns for both pedestrians and drivers of all ages,” said Assemblyman David I. Weprin. “I applaud Mayor de Blasio and his administration for their aggressive street safety policies, which I am confident will save lives. As part of the Mayor’s Vision Zero initiative, I look forward to continue to working with Transportation Commissioner Trottenberg in further enhancing pedestrian, driver, and bicycle safety measures.”
In Queens, pedestrian fatalities fell by 44% in the past three decades, but have risen in recent years, and have a pedestrian fatality rate per resident slightly higher than the city average. The highest crash locations in the borough are concentrated around the high-density historic town centers of Flushing, Jamaica and Elmhurst. Senior citizens comprise just 13% of the borough’s population, but account for 35% of the borough’s pedestrian fatalities. In Queens, 40% of Queens pedestrian travel occurs during rush hours, but only 24% of traffic fatalities occurred in that time. Dangerous driver choices were the primary cause or contributing factor in 75% of pedestrian fatalities.
Overall the plan identified 47 Priority Corridors, 72 Priority Intersections, and 17 square miles of Priority Areas where crashes that severely injure or kill pedestrians are concentrated. Sixty one percent of all pedestrian fatalities from 2009-2013 were concentrated within these priority geographies. The 47 Priority Corridors consist of just 6 percent (127 miles) of the borough’s total street mileage but contain half of the boroughs total pedestrian fatalities and severe injuries (KSI.) The 72 Priority Intersections are just 1% of the over 18,000 intersections in the borough, but they were the site of 15% of its pedestrian KSI. Finally, the Priority Areas constitute just 15% of the borough’s land area (17 square miles) but contain half of all pedestrian KSI. The plans for the first time reveal the detailed fatality and injury rates of individual corridors and intersections, which will improve how DOT and NYPD work with the public to improve safety.
The Queens Pedestrian Safety Action Plan also followed an extensive community outreach, dialogue and input process in 2014 at town hall meetings and public workshops and online, which resulted in over 2,300 pedestrian safety issues being shared with DOT. Speeding (26%) and failure to yield (18%) were the most frequently cited issues. Sixty seven percent of workshop attendees viewed wide arterial streets as the most important areas for pedestrian safety improvements. And finally, 56% of the issues shared fall outside of the Priority Corridors, Intersections and Areas, highlighting the need for improved engagement in areas with low levels of feedback but high rates of injury. This input will inform and guide our efforts to collaboratively develop interventions that will make Queens safer.
The Action Plan consists of engineering & planning, enforcement and education & awareness campaigns involving multiple agencies. The Priority Map will serve as a guide for DOT, NYPD and others to systematically improve streets which show high rates of fatalities and serious crashes. The specific actions include:
Engineering and Planning
- Implement at least 50 Vision Zero safety engineering improvements annually at Priority Corridors, Intersections, and Areas citywide
- Significantly expand exclusive pedestrian crossing time on all Queens Priority Corridors by the end of 2017
- Add exclusive pedestrian crossing time to all feasible Queens Priority Intersections by the end of 2017
- Modify signal timing to reduce off-peak speeding on all feasible Queens Priority Corridors by the end of 2017
- Install additional speed limit signs on all Queens Priority Corridors in 2015
- Drive community input and engagement at Queens Priority Corridors, Intersections, and Areas
- Install additional lighting under elevated trains and at other key transit stops
- Coordinate with MTA to ensure bus operations contribute to a safe pedestrian environment
- Expand the bicycle network in Queens that improves safety for all road users
- Proactively design for pedestrian safety in high-growth areas in Queens including locations in the Housing New York plan
- Implement the majority of speed cameras at Priority Corridors, Intersections, and Areas
- Focus enforcement and deploy dedicated resources to Queens NYPD precincts which overlap substantially with Priority Areas
- Concentrate targeted enforcement at all Queens Priority Corridors, Intersections, and Areas annually
Education and Awareness Campaigns
- Target child and senior safety education at Queens Priority Corridors and Priority Areas
- Launch multilingual public information campaigns in Queens Priority Areas
- Focus Street Team outreach at Queens Priority Corridors, Intersections, and Areas
DOT also provided an advance look at a few anticipated 2015 Vision Zero safety projects for the borough beyond the Hillside/Metropolitan project. They include:
- Pulaski Bridge Bike Path connecting to Brooklyn
- Hunter Street Pedestrian Safety Improvements (from Springfield Boulevard to Cross Island Parkway) in Cambria Heights
- Astoria Boulevard at 31st and 33rd Streets Intersection Safety Improvement in Astoria
In 2014, DOT expanded its efforts to improve the safety of its streets through engineering treatments. In that year DOT cumulatively made the most significant changes for safety than any previous year and these improvements resulted in the lowest pedestrian fatality totals since record-keeping began in 1910. NYPD also stepped up enforcement, increasing summonses for failure to yield to pedestrians by 126%, deterring one of the leading factors behind pedestrian fatalities.
The Queens Borough Plan is available on at the DOT website at www.nyc.gov/dot and subsequent borough plans will be released later this week.