Officials from the New York City Department of Transportation (NYC DOT) joined Council Member Carlos Menchaca and cycling and street safety advocates on Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn today to announce a pilot program that will allow cyclists to follow pedestrian head-start signals at 50 designated intersections.
As part of an initiative from now until October of this year, DOT will install temporary signage at intersections that already have Leading Pedestrian Intervals (known as LPIs; subject of a 2017 New York Times article here). With these signals, people on foot are given advanced time -- seven to eleven seconds -- to cross before drivers may proceed through the intersection or make turns through crosswalks. Cyclists will still be legally required to yield to pedestrians in crosswalks.
“NYC DOT is committed to the safety of all road users, and while cycling safety has improved considerably, there is still progress to be made. DOT’s recent Safer Cycling study found that 65% of cyclist fatalities and 89% of cyclists killed or seriously injured in vehicle crashes were struck at intersections,” said Sean Quinn, NYC DOT Senior Director of Bicycle and Pedestrian Programs. We responded to this data as well as to requests from the cycling community and the Council Member who had asked that we expand the road users who can legally use so-called pedestrian head-starts. We will be watching the results closely, measuring the various impacts of the pilot to determine next steps at the end of the study period.”
DOT’s 2016 Don’t Cut Corners study had found a 56 percent reduction in serious injury and fatal pedestrian and bicycle crashes from the LPI treatment. With high safety benefit and low installation costs, DOT installed a record 832 LPIs in 2017 for a total of 2,547 LPIs throughout the City, seven times the number prior to Vision Zero.
Council Member Menchaca, who in 2016 introduced legislation seeking to allow bicyclists to follow LPIs, welcomed DOT's pilot.
“As an avid bike rider, I understand the dangers of bicycling in New York City, especially at intersections,” said Council Member Menchaca. “As a City, it is our duty to ensure we are doing our best to ensure the safety of pedestrians and bicyclists. This pilot program is a good step in the right direction and a long overdue victory for advocates and community residents from my district who worked tirelessly to ensure this initiative came to life. I am confident that the New York City Department of Transportation will gather enough data to conclude that Leading Pedestrian Intervals (LPIs) are as effective for bicyclists as they are for pedestrians. I look forward to hopefully having LPIs for bicyclists implemented permanently in New York City.”
“We must continue to challenge the status quo in the pursuit of advancing street safety for all," said Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams. "Capitalizing on existing roadway safety technology in the expansion of eligible users of our Leading Pedestrian Intervals could produce good bang-for-our-buck gains, not only in transportation investment but more importantly in public safety. I look forward to the results of this pilot program and to expanding my administration’s partnership with DOT and Council Member Menchaca toward fully achieving Vision Zero."
“As we think about congestion solutions for our city, cycling remains a promising, growing part of our transportation mix,” said Rep. Nydia M. Velázquez. “Leading Pedestrian Intervals are one way we can improve safety at intersections for cyclists, pedestrians and motorists alike, reducing injuries and accidents, while making New York more bike friendly. I applaud Councilman Menchaca and DOT for moving this pilot program forward and helping make Brooklyn streets safer for all.”
“With so many people cycling to work and for recreation, it’s critical that we keep our roads safe for everyone: pedestrians, cyclists and motorists,” said Assembly Assistant Speaker Felix W. Ortiz. “Permitting cyclists to follow pedestrian head-start signals at 50 designated intersections will help keep bicycles and pedestrians separated from autos. This is a strong step forward as the city continues Vision Zero campaign to make New York a safer place."
"These pilot regulations are an important step forward for New York City cyclists and New York City drivers alike,” said State Senator Marisol Alcántara. “By aligning the law with the practices that are already taking place, the police will be able to prohibit truly dangerous conduct on the part of both cyclists and drivers while also having the extra capacity to focus on serious crimes. I hope for the success of this pilot program and I congratulate Councilmember Menchaca and the DOT for this innovative approach."
"Pedestrian and cyclist head-starts reduce crashes by 56%, saving countless lives and bringing us closer to the goals of Vision Zero,” said State Senator Brad Hoylman. I'm grateful to the New York City Department of Transportation and Council Member Carlos Menchaca for kicking off the cyclist head-start pilot at key intersections throughout the city and for making our streets a safer place."
“Increasing pedestrian and cyclist safety, reducing congestion, and building a greener New York are all interconnected. Expanding the use LPI and installing signage will help us make progress on all of these fronts,” said City Council Committee on Transportation Chair Ydanis Rodriguez. “This pilot aligns with Vision Zero, our climate goals, and the mission of citywide events, such as the third annual Car Free Day on April 21st. LPI makes walking and cycling safer which encourages New Yorkers to use alternative modes of transportation. This, in turn, can lead to less congestion and fewer greenhouse gas emissions.”
“The proposed pilot program is an opportunity to evaluate new ways to keep cyclists safe,” said Council Member Keith Powers. “I look forward to working with the Department of Transportation on this program in my neighborhood and appreciate the hard work of Council Member Menchaca to move this pilot forward.”
“Whether it’s for travel to work or a meal with friends, more New Yorkers are choosing cycling as a way to get around our city,” said Councilwoman Carlina Rivera. “As this trend continues, we must find innovative ways to prevent cyclist-involved traffic incidents, especially when those can be coupled with existing pedestrian and driver safety enhancements. This pilot program on leading pedestrian intervals (LPIs) may lead us to one permanent solution that makes our roads safer for all modes of transportation.”
"Council Member Menchaca has made improving the safety of people on bikes a priority from his first day in office,” said Eric McClure, Executive Director of StreetsPAC. “The launch of this pilot effort to allow cyclists to follow pedestrian signals is a testament to his commitment to safer streets for everyone. We fully expect the pilot to show a significant safety benefit, and look forward to LPIs-for-bikes being adopted citywide in short order.”
“Leading pedestrian intervals have proven to be one of the most effective tools in the City’s effort to eliminate pedestrian deaths and serious injuries,” said Paul Steely White, executive director of Transportation Alternatives. “We commend Council Member Menchaca and the Department of Transportation for moving to extend the safety benefits of LPIs to people on bikes as well.”
In addition to Atlantic Avenue and Smith Street, Brooklyn locations will include various intersections on 4th Avenue. Locations in other boroughs will include intersections along Roosevelt and 34th Avenues in Queens, as well as 9th and 2nd Avenues in Manhattan.