BY PATRICK ROCCHIO
A detailed plan to help make specific accident-prone borough streets safer has been unveiled.
A city Department of Transportation Pedestrian Safety Action Plan was released recently as part of Vision Zero, a citywide initiative to reduce traffic fatalities.
It focuses the initiative on the most accident-prone traffic corridors and intersections, and should bring about infrastructure planning and improvements, enforcement and education.
NYPD officials joined Polly Trottenberg, DOT commissioner, at the Leon Senior Center in Melrose on Wednesday, February 18 for the release of the report, which was written in close collaboration with police department after community discussions and analysis of accident data.
“A year ago we launched Vision Zero and I know everyone at DOT is proud to start working on Year Two of this extremely important initiative to keep every New Yorker safe,” said Trottenberg. “These borough plans combine cutting edge data analysis and community input from the city’s most important resource – its residents – and will help the city target its engineering, enforcement, and education efforts to make New York’s streets the safest in the world.”
Outside of the senior center, at Jackson Avenue and Westchester Avenue, the plan calls for the creation of a pedestrian island at a bus stop under an elevated train to make waiting for a bus safer, said DOT officials.
Borough-wide, focus will be in the areas that have the highest amount of traffic fatalities, including a densely populated area in the west Bronx along the Grand Concourse and surrounding communities, which seems to be the epicenter of the borough’s population and its traffic deaths, according to an analysis of the report.
The areas singled out also extend into the east Bronx with corridors including much or all of White Plains Road, East Tremont Avenue, Morris Park Avenue, Castle Hill Avenue and Boston Road.
Councilwoman Vanessa Gibson, who is chairwoman of City Council Committee on Public Safety, has helped DOT hold town halls to gather input in each of the five boroughs. She said the new plan is a further step in identifying the unique challenges presented in the borough.
“The priorities and recommendations laid out in the Borough Pedestrian Safety Plan were derived from community input and will focus on additional street lighting, coordination of pedestrian crossing times, expanded signage and other enhancements to expand awareness of dangerous intersections,” she said.
“I appreciate all the Bronx residents who attended many town hall meetings to engage in discussions on improved safety for drivers, bike riders and pedestrians.”
Assemblyman Michael Blake expressed support of the plan at the press conference on February 18.
Priority will be given to just 65 miles of the 791 miles of borough streets, where around 50% of deadly traffic accidents occur.
In terms of intersections, 46 of the county’s 6,438 intersections will be given serious attention.
According to the report, dangerous driver choices are the primary cause or a contributing factor in 85% of pedestrian fatalities in the borough compared with 69% for the entire city.