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Mayor Adams, Commissioner Rodriguez, Commissioner Sewell Announce Major New Actions & Investments to Improve Pedestrian Safety at Intersections

January 19, 2022

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Major Design Changes and Increased NYPD Enforcement Will Target Intersections Where 79 Percent of Pedestrian Injuries Occur

Mayor Adams and DOT Commit to Improvements to Make 1,000 Intersections Safer

New Traffic Rule Protecting Pedestrians Takes Effect Today

NEW YORK — New York City Mayor Eric Adams today was joined by New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez and New York Police Department (NYPD) Commissioner Keechant Sewell to announce major new actions and investments in pedestrian safety at intersections. With intersections the leading site of pedestrian injuries and fatalities, DOT will make design improvements to make 1,000 intersections safer with improved traffic signals, raised crosswalks, and other expanded pedestrian space and visibility measures. Empowered by a new traffic rule protecting pedestrians that takes effect today, the NYPD will immediately begin expanded enforcement against drivers who fail to recognize the primacy of pedestrians in crosswalks. The agencies also announced a new education campaign to ensure that all drivers know the rules of the road.

“After the tragedy of 2021, when traffic fatalities in New York City reached their highest level in nearly a decade, we clearly need to turbo-charge Vision Zero — and fast,” said Mayor Eric Adams. “I thank my two commissioners for putting this early focus on enforcement and design within intersections, where we have the tools that can and will save lives.  Drivers need to know that intersections are where most crashes happen — and so if you do not drive safely through them, NYPD officers will make sure you pay a price.” 

“Thanks to Mayor Adams’ leadership, we are taking these early actions to save lives,” said Department of Transportation Commissioner Rodriguez. “As we take a new approach to Vision Zero, we know intersections are where pedestrians and cyclists face the greatest dangers — and so we can and will make hundreds of crosswalks safer with a range of treatments, both new ones and more of those that we know work. We will not be complacent or accept any life lost on our streets. My thanks to Commissioner Sewell and the NYPD for their serious focus this year on failure-to-yield, which sends a strong signal to New York drivers about how serious we are about this.”

“Ensuring the safety of New York City streets and all who use them is paramount, and this new plan is critical to the NYPD’s important work with its city partners,” said Police Commissioner Sewell. “The NYPD continues to be relentless in enforcing the laws, including this new rule that protects pedestrians crossing city intersections. Through Mayor Adams’ leadership, and by working hand-in-hand with the Department of Transportation in this new approach to Vision Zero, the NYPD will keep innovating to make our streets safer.”

Intersections pose a special safety challenge in New York City, where crashes at intersections typically comprise 50 percent of all fatalities and 70 percent of all injuries. For pedestrians, the dangers are more pronounced: 55 percent of pedestrian fatalities and 79 percent of pedestrian traffic injuries occur at intersections. Today’s intersection-focused announcement includes the following elements:

DOT Design Toolkit Focus on Intersections

DOT announced that in 2022 it would undertake new and expanded efforts focused on intersection design at 1,000 locations, including through: 

  • Increased focus on intersections in Street Improvement Projects: DOT will use its full toolkit of street design treatments as redesigns happen, focused on Vision Zero priority geographies, locations where fatalities and serious injuries have occurred, and Priority Investment Areas as detailed in the NYC Streets Plan. These changes include new turn signals and “head-starts” that allow pedestrians to enter the intersection before vehicles can turn.
  • Raised crosswalks: DOT will begin a program to construct 100 raised crosswalks at curb level annually. Raised crosswalks serve a dual purpose of increasing accessibility for the disability community, while at the same time serving as speed bumps that slow drivers. This work will be done primarily via a new contract with the New York City Department of Design and Construction.
  • Bike corrals at intersections: DOT will “daylight” at least 100 intersections with bike corrals this year, as part of its planned installation of more than 10,000 bicycle racks by the end of 2022. Bike corrals at intersections help provide visibility for drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians, while preventing drivers from cutting corners and turning too quickly.
  • Parking lot and gas station traffic-calming: Curb cuts at high-traffic locations like parking lots and gasoline stations, often at intersections, can create danger as drivers cut across sidewalks unpredictably — a particular concern for vulnerable student and senior pedestrians. DOT efforts will target dozens of problem locations, largely outside Manhattan, reducing driver “short cuts” and better channeling vehicle traffic to increase visibility and predictability.
  • Doubling the Turn-Calming Program: Research has shown that drivers take turns more slowly and deliberately when physical elements are in place to force turns at more appropriate speeds. DOT will double the production of such efforts to 100 intersections this year.

Increased Enforcement Within Intersections

The NYPD will strongly enforce failure-to-yield (FTY), a violation that especially endangers pedestrians and cyclists at intersections, with a goal of doubling 2021 FTY enforcement efforts.

While enforcement will be at intersections citywide, officers will also be empowered by a new DOT traffic rule that goes into effect today for such violations at over 1,200 intersections citywide that are governed by neither a traffic signal nor a stop sign. Under the new rule, drivers and cyclists passing through such intersections must not simply yield but fully stop until a pedestrian has completely crossed the street. The new rule is intended to clarify enforcement and remove any subjectivity from such violations.

New “Stop. Let Them Cross” Public Awareness Campaign

This month, DOT will begin a public awareness campaign on social media and in community and ethnic media publications to raise awareness for the new stop for pedestrians’ rule for uncontrolled intersections. The message also underscores the importance of slowing down and being aware of pedestrians while driving in New York City.

“Street safety is of paramount importance and redesigning our intersections will save lives,” said State Assemblymember Robert Carroll. “I commend Mayor Adams and Transportation Commissioner Rodriguez for coming out of the gate intent on addressing these important safety issues early in their administration. I look forward to partnering on future improvements to make our streets safer.”

“Protecting pedestrians at dangerous intersections is paramount. As a City, we must prevent traffic fatalities and injuries, and ensure that our streets are safe for everyone,” said City Council Speaker Adrienne Adams. “Implementing design improvements, visibility measures, and other treatments, combined with expanded enforcement and an education campaign, will make a tremendous difference. I thank Mayor Adams, DOT Commissioner Rodriguez, and Police Commissioner Sewell for taking these critical actions for the safety of all New Yorkers."

“I want to first express my sincere gratitude to Mayor Adams and Commissioner Rodriguez for their attention to this critical and life-threatening situation,” said New York City Councilmember Shahana Hanif. “Nearly a month ago, Arcellie ‘Celi’ Muschamp tragically lost her life to a reckless driver on 5th Avenue and Union Street in my district. This community knows all too well the toll traffic violence can take and the desperate need to achieve Vision Zero. I am pleased to see the DOT implementing a few of the proposals I called for just this past Tuesday, such as daylighting intersections and improving street designs, especially with leading pedestrian intervals. By taking these important steps, we can prevent future tragedies and ensure our streets are safe for everyone.” 

"The urgency of making our streets safer cannot be overstated,” said New York City Councilmember Rita Joseph. “Intersections are where a disproportionate number of pedestrian traffic injuries occur, and I thank Mayor Adams and Commissioner Rodriguez for their data-driven focus on ensuring that our streetscape is people-focused. Crossing the street should not be a matter of life or death.”

“Bike New York thanks Mayor Adams and Commissioner Rodriguez for moving quickly to bring new traffic safety measures to city streets,” said Jon Orcutt, advocacy director, Bike New York. “We need physical changes to slow dangerous driving: Raised crosswalks and bike corrals at corners will save lives. We also applaud the focus on curb cuts — we need improvements in this regard along bike lanes like Brooklyn’s 4th Avenue.”

“Regional Plan Association applauds Mayor Adams and Commissioner Rodriguez for fixing dangerous intersections and doing more to protect pedestrians,” said Kate Slevin, executive vice president, Regional Plan Association. “Tragically, traffic fatality numbers were up in 2021, reaching the highest level since 2013. We look forward to working with the mayor and commissioner on a comprehensive approach to bring these numbers down and create a safer city for all. Efforts like this — with a focus on design, enforcement, and public awareness — will be fundamental to that broader strategy.”

“We’re very pleased that Mayor Adams and Commissioner Rodriguez are making intersection safety a priority,” said Eric McClure, executive director, Streets PAC. “Far, far too many pedestrians are injured or killed while doing exactly what they’re supposed to be doing — crossing at intersections in crosswalks with the right of way — and we’re confident that these new investments in intersection design will make a profound difference in keeping people safe. Raised crosswalks are a design innovation that should be rolled out throughout New York City, and LPIs, split-phase signals, daylighting, and turn-calming are all proven-effective means of keeping people safe. We hope the Department of Transportation will be given the resources to implement these changes as soon as possible.”

“Last year was the highest on record since 2013 in terms of traffic deaths, and this trend has been moving in the wrong direction since 2018,” said Liam Blank, policy & communications manager, Tri-State Transportation Campaign. “These targeted investments to improve our city's streets will go a long way toward achieving zero traffic fatalities. We strongly support this new initiative, and we commend Mayor Adams and Commissioner Rodriguez for prioritizing safer streets for all New Yorkers."

“Today’s bold announcement from City Hall signifies a historic turning point in our city’s movement to make our streets safer for pedestrians, cyclists, riders and drivers. These actions and policy-changes will make a real difference in the everyday lives of residents,” said Representative Yvette D. Clarke. “Rooted in the Vision Zero philosophy responsible for our success improving pedestrian safety so far, these actions solidify not only our city’s commitment to protecting pedestrians, but our promise to pursue both environmentally-friendly and inclusive policies that will undoubtedly save lives. I thank Mayor Eric Adams and his administration, the Department of Transportation, and the NYPD for their shared dedication towards making our city more pedestrian friendly, and a more equitable space for all commuters. I look forward to seeing progress, including enforcement against those who don't comply with these new safety measures, take root when this initiative is fully implemented.”

“I want to thank Mayor Adams and his administration for giving their attention to street safety almost immediately after taking office. Even one death on New York City streets is too many, and the number of pedestrian fatalities and injuries in recent years is disheartening. I look forward to the impact these changes will make for pedestrians, cyclists, and drivers,” said Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso.

“Investment in safe street design is how we will achieve Vision Zero,” said Danny Harris, Executive Director, Transportation Alternatives. “The concrete solutions announced today will better prevent drivers from speeding and protect our most vulnerable road users, like seniors, children, and everyone who bikes. This effort must be coupled with additional actions that reduce the number of dangerous vehicles citywide, and, as we’ve put forward in our NYC 25x25 vision, also reclaim street space that better serves our public health, climate, and the local economy. Today’s emphasis on infrastructure is the right approach, and we look forward to working with the Adams administration on additional measures that get Vision Zero back on track.”

“Traffic violence is a public health crisis, and as recently as last night, Families for Safe Streets members have been at vigils mourning preventable, heartbreaking pedestrian deaths here in Brooklyn,” said Fabiola Mendieta-Cuapio, member, Families for Safe Streets. “But like other public health crises, we have the proven tools that will help us save lives. This begins with redesigning streets for safety, and we are very glad to see the Adams administration prioritizing physical infrastructure to protect New Yorkers on our streets. Nobody else should go through the pain I faced when my son was killed in a crash. With the right investments on our streets, we can save lives and solve the traffic violence epidemic.”


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