31% of total traffic deaths in the NYC metropolitan area are pedestrians, but funding for pedestrian and bike infrastructure lags far behind even the meager amount spent in other cities. The conclusion is found a new national report on pedestrian traffic deaths, published by the Transportation for America and Surface Transportation Policy Partnership. Their analysis determined that only 1% of New York State federal transportation funds are spent on pedestrian infrastructure, and the NYC metropolitan area receives only $0.61 per person in federal funds for pedestrian and bike facilities, well below the $1.39 spent per person for metro areas nationwide.
Naturally, the advocacy group Transportation Alternatives is all over this, insisting that many of these pedestrian deaths are preventable if the state changes transportation policies and funding practices. "When it comes to safer streets, money talks," says Paul Steely White, Executive Director of Transportation Alternatives. "We need the New York State Department of Transportation to step up to the plate and start funding life-saving street designs."
From 2005 to 2008, New York State received $5.6 billion in federal transportation funds, during which time there have been 1,215 pedestrian deaths that Transportation Alternatives claims could have been prevented. Ya-Ting Liu, federal advocate of the Tri-State Transportation Campaign, says, "The state could double its current spending on pedestrian safety and it would still be spending less per resident than it costs to buy a coffee from Starbucks."