FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 20, 2004
MAYOR MICHAEL R. BLOOMBERG AND DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION COMMISSIONER IRIS WEINSHALL ANNOUNCE PEDESTRIAN BRIDGE SAFETY INITIATIVE
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) Commissioner Iris Weinshall today announced a Citywide pedestrian bridge safety initiative that will make crossing pedestrian bridges safer by requiring pedestrians and bikers to slow down before exiting a bridge and by providing new traffic signals or stop signs at uncontrolled locations. Specifically, DOT will install slalom fencing at the exits of certain bridges after exiting bridges and will install special pedestrian activated traffic signals in some locations. DOT has completed a safety survey of all 122 pedestrian bridges across the City and found that 31 are in need of additional safety enhancements. The initiative will cost up to $1 million in City and State funds. Mayor Bloomberg and Commissioner Weinshall were also joined by State Senator Frank Padavan to make the announcement at the Fresh Meadows Lane overpass at the Long Island Expressway in Queens, where DOT recently implemented a series of safety improvements.
"Traffic and pedestrian fatalities in the City are at historic lows, but that does not mean we are not going to try to make this city even safer," said Mayor Bloomberg. "Pedestrian bridges are vital lifelines in connecting communities all across this City. It is imperative that residents who rely on these bridges can use them safely and securely. With a number of highways close to residential neighborhoods, pedestrian bridges serve to assist pedestrians as they move between home and work, and for children as they ride their bikes and participate in the life of their communities."
"I am pleased to join Mayor Bloomberg and Commissioner Iris Weinshall to start the Citywide Pedestrian Bridge Safety Project, and to provide a $500,000 New York State legislative grant to assist in the success of the program," said Senator Padavan. "In 2000, we lost a young man, Christopher Scott, who was struck and killed at the pedestrian overpass at 46th Avenue and the Clearview Expressway, this year, we also lost another young man, Joseph Baik, at the Cloverdale Boulevard and Horace Harding Expressway Bridge. We now have an opportunity to make these bridges safer throughout New York City."
"We have developed a new pedestrian-activated signal for the express purpose of alerting motorists to the presence of people using pedestrian bridges - when the button is pressed, it will trigger a red light for vehicles to ensure the safest pedestrian crossing possible," Commissioner Weinshall said. "Signals will be installed in 19 intersections adjacent to pedestrian bridges over the next several months."
All 31 bridges in need of safety enhancements will undergo remediation. Changes include:
All work is expected to be completed by December of 2005.
Edward Skyler / Jordan Barowitz (212) 788-2958
Tom Cocola (DOT)