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Queens Chronicle

Anti-car advocates release new study

Transportation Alternatives counts pedestrian deaths by community

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Posted: Thursday, November 3, 2011 12:00 pm | Updated: 12:58 pm, Thu Nov 10, 2011.

As part of its continuing campaign against the automobile and in favor of walking, bicycling and public transit, the advocacy group Transportation Alternatives recently released a study tracking how many people were hit by cars over a 15 year period in each of the city’s community districts.

The second worst district citywide was CD 12 in the Jamaica area. There were 4,741 collisions between vehicles and pedestrians in the district from 1995 through 2009, the report said, citing state Department of Transportation data. Only Manhattan’s CD 5 topped the district, with 8,604 incidents reported.

Among Queens community districts, the next worse was CD 7 in the Flushing area, which saw 3,567 vehicle-pedestrian collisions. It was followed by District 4, centered on Corona and Elmhurst, where there were 2,600.

The vast majority of the worst community districts in the report were in Manhattan and Brooklyn.

While the report compiled numbers over a 15-year time span, it did not break them down by year, so it did not indicate whether progress is being made in reducing pedestrian fatalities, except in the worst district, CD 5 in Midtown Manhattan. There Transportation Alternatives noted that pedestrian fatalities are down 35 percent since implementation of the Green Light for Midtown Project, which redesigned much of Broadway and closed much of Times Square and Herald Square to cars.

According to the city, pedestrian fatalities are continually being reduced as the city Department of Transportation installs more traffic-calming measures and closes more stretches of roadway to motor vehicles.

While lauding the changes made in the Midtown project by the DOT, TA took the Police Department to task for not, in its view, not paying enough heed to what it now calls “traffic violence” (the report is entitled “Walking in Traffic Violence / The Pervasiveness of Motor Vehicle Crashes with Pedestrians in New York City).

“In the past ten years, more people were killed in traffic than murdered by guns in New York City,” the report says. “Every year more than 70,000 New Yorkers are injured in traffic crashes. To create a healthier, safer and more livable New York City, there needs to be a citywide commitment to eliminate, not just reduce, traffic deaths and serious injuries on our streets. This zero tolerance policy is called Vision Zero: zero deaths, zero serious injuries, and zero fear of traffic. Currently, there is a disturbing culture of acceptance surrounding the dangers represented by motor vehicles.”

The report calls for a change in that culture, one more like the paradigm in major European cities like Berlin and Paris which are less accommodating to automobiles.

The full report is available online at transalt.org.

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