As promised, the DOT is moving forward with a plan to install 1,500 countdown clocks at busy intersections in all five boroughs. (Here's a pdf map of the locations.) The crosswalk timers let pedestrians know exactly how much time they have before the next wave of traffic crashes down on them, and the DOT says they "take the guesswork out of" crossing the street. Today Mayor Bloomberg and DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan announced that installation will begin this month. They also released the Pedestrian Safety Study and Action Plan, which they call the most comprehensive report of its kind in the nation, analyzing more than 7,000 crash records to find ways to improve safety conditions. Among other things, the report found:
- Jaywalkers were involved in fewer collisions than those who waited for the "walk" sign.
- Traffic fatalities in 2009 were down by 35% from 2001.
- Most New Yorkers do not know the city’s standard speed limit is 30 m.p.h.
- 80% of crashes that kill or seriously injure pedestrians involve male drivers.
- Manhattan has four times as many pedestrian killed or severely injured per mile of street compared to the other four boroughs.
- Side streets are safer: Serious pedestrian crashes are about two-thirds deadlier on major street corridors than on smaller local streets.
- 79% of crashes that kill or seriously injure pedestrians involve private vehicles, not taxis, trucks and buses.
So now you're armed with enough talking points to seriously bum out your next cocktail party! Besides the countdown clocks, the DOT is already planning some more street changes based on the data in the report, which Sadik-Khan calls "the Rosetta Stone for safety on the streets of New York." For starters, dozens of parking spaces will be removed next year from an undisclosed Manhattan avenue in an experiment "designed to make it easier for pedestrians to spot drivers taking left turns," the Times reports. And the city is also planning series of public service announcements to remind New Yorkers that the city’s posted speed limit is 30 miles an hour.