Streetfilms: Making Streets Safer for Seniors

Transportation Alternatives’ Safe Routes for Seniors campaign began in 2003 to encourage senior citizens to walk more by improving
the pedestrian environment. Funded by the New York State Department
of Health, it was a pioneering program to address the needs of elderly pedestrians.

In 2008, New York City launched its own Safe Streets for
Seniors initiative based on Safe Routes for Seniors. While this program, with a focus on 25
areas with high senior pedestrian fatalities, is breaking new ground, advocates and seniors who live outside the target zones question whether it goes far enough. Stats released by Transportation Alternatives show that:

  • People aged 65 years and older make up 12 percent of the population, but comprised 39 percent of New York City’s pedestrian fatalities between
    2002 and 2006.
  • The fatality rate of senior pedestrians is 40 times greater than that of child pedestrians in Manhattan.

This Streetfilm is an overview of what Transportation Alternatives, the New
York State Department of Health, NYC DOT, community groups, and elected
officials are doing to promote safe streets for seniors.

  • Greg

    Recently the DOT changed a light on McGuinness Blvd. so that the entire duration of the walk and blinking don’t walk combined is only 20 seconds. It’s crazy, this is a six lane street. I wrote to Councilman Yassky but unfortunately didn’t hear back.

  • mfs

    Greg- what intersection was this?

  • Ian Turner

    It’s an interesting coup how this program takes the political bias toward seniors and against young adults, and flips it around to support wise policy.

  • This is great work and an important film. Proponents of this in NYC should contact the AARP who might be able to fund further improvements or pilot projects. They are really supportive of livable street initiatives.

  • Excellent work Elizabeth! Well done. One of the best documented and edited Streetfilms ever!

    Your gonna’ put Clarence out of a job.

  • Gulp!

  • Bob

    Another example of how universal design is good design. If you start by designing streets that are safe for people with mobility impairments, you’ll end up with streets that are safer for everybody. I like the synergy of the bike lane providing a reason for a safety island for pedestrians.

  • This is the corner of McGuinness and Meserole. There is a traffic island on one side of the street, but not the other.

  • Dawn_esther

    Very interesting film and interested in this from a UK perspective – have any evaluations been untertaken to identify what the most useful modifications to the street environment are and how effective.
    Many thanks for highlighting this issue.

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