Rodriguez Bill Would Mandate Daylighting at 25 Intersections Per Year

City Council transportation chair Ydanis Rodriguez introduced legislation today intended to improve pedestrian safety along bus routes and at intersections with high crash rates.

Ydanis Rodriguez, with Council Member Brad Lander at right, outside City Hall today. Photo: @ydanis
Transportation chair Ydanis Rodriguez, with Council Member Brad Lander at right, outside City Hall today. Photo: @ydanis

Intro 912 would require DOT to daylight the five “most dangerous intersections” in each borough annually, as determined by the number of fatalities and injuries. Curb extensions would be installed to prevent parking within 15 feet of selected crossings.

Twenty-five intersections a year isn’t a large number, but by codifying the selection process based on crash data, daylighting projects would not be subject to the whims of community boards, which routinely prioritize parking over street safety. It would also compel DOT to make more consistent use of an effective and relatively simple street safety tool.

A second bill, Intro 911, would require DOT to study pedestrian and cyclist safety along bus routes and implement traffic-calming measures — including turn restrictions, neckdowns, daylighting, and leading pedestrian intervals — at “high risk intersections.” It would also require DOT to develop a comprehensive strategy for bus route safety.

Finally, Reso 854 calls on the MTA to study measures to reduce “blind spots” on buses and install audible warnings to alert drivers to the presence of pedestrians.

“The most important is the one that will mandate DOT to remove two parking spots in each of the five most dangerous intersections in [each borough],” Rodriguez told Stephen Miller today, following an event on Manhattan traffic congestion organized by Borough President Gale Brewer. “The reason why this legislation has strong merit is because 74 percent of pedestrians killed in New York City are killed in intersections. Eighty-nine percent of cyclists killed in New York City also are killed in intersections.”

“We believe that we, working together with DOT, will be able to do daylighting,” said Rodriguez. “It will improve visibility for drivers.”

The bills have support from several council members, including Brad Lander, Margaret Chin, Helen Rosenthal, and Rory Lancman.

  • Nora

    That’s great news! Just yesterday I was saying that I thought daylighting was probably the best (and simplest) way to fix dangerous intersections. One place I have thought would really benefit is the area around the courts in downtown Manhattan–with all the official vehicles coming and going, there are often cars parked right up to the corner (sometimes actually in the crosswalk), making it extra dangerous when drivers come barreling around the turns. But I definitely think every intersection could benefit. I know 25 isn’t a lot but it would be a great start.

  • AnoNYC

    Daylighting should be implemented citywide. In my neighborhood, when driving it is very difficult to see around large vehicles parked to the crosswalk. I’m usually required to inch out far into the intersection in order to make sure the crossing is clear.

    What are the chances that these measures will become law?

  • Simon Phearson

    Oh, this could be awesome. As a cyclist, my #1 gripe is the way that inadequate daylighting makes every intersection a gamble. More daylighting also means fewer pedestrians standing in the street, looking for a window to cross. Mandating an infrastructural fix also avoids kicking it to the do-nothing NYPD for “enforcement.”

    Admittedly, the pace of implementation is excruciatingly slow, and it probably won’t affect any intersection I frequent. But it’s a step in the right direction of shifting the culture.

  • Mark Walker

    Kudos to Rodriquez for stepping up to the plate. The pace of change may not be fast enough for some, but as a first step, this is just right. Gauging the resistance is part of the process.

  • Matthias

    Bravo Mr Rodriguez! I was just thinking about this today while peering around parked vehicles while trying to cross the street. What makes it even worse is trucks that park in the crosswalk. We need comprehensive parking reform, with loading zones and congestion pricing.

  • D’BlahZero

    Yeah, I initially though 25 a year? That’s nothing. But it’s 25 per borough, AND it’s data driven, mandated at the most dangerous spots. This would be a huge step forward in process and thinking if not in absolute quantity. It’s kind of like that measly little number of speed cameras. I’ll take ’em as a start.

  • Hopefully we can start with five intersections annually and then, when the world doesn’t end, the city can up that number every year after that so that we can really get moving. Hats off to CM Rodriguez for getting this started.

  • Simon Phearson

    Yeah, but at the same time I feel like I have to ask – how is the DOT going to find a way to screw this up? The law directs the DOT to develop a curb extension “program.” “Curb extensions” are just moving the “curb line” into the roadway. So, what might we see? Just a bunch of paint – no bollards, no concrete? Data that’s never really compiled? Plain old foot-dragging? Could the DOT take the letter of this law and say, “Yes, but we need community feedback on parking impacts, as part of the program”?

  • Michael

    Color my skeptical about daylighting. While behind the wheel (as opposed to on them), I find intersections with good sight lines increase speed, while ones with poor visibility cause me to slow down. Anecdotal for sure, but I think slowing down traffic is a bigger priority.

  • Joe R.

    Daylighting is as much for pedestrians as it is for cyclists and drivers, perhaps more so. How can you cross a street if you can’t see what’s coming? Without daylighting, in many cases you have to literally step in a traffic lane before you see what’s headed your way. By then it’s obviously too late. Daylighting may or may not increase driving speeds but it will certainly make it safer for people crossing the street. It’ll also make it safer for cyclists who will more easily see pedestrians at intersections.

  • AnoNYC

    I should add that in order for daylighting to be successful here there MUST be a physical barrier (even if only flexible posts). Paint is not going to cut it.

  • ahwr

    25 per borough

    No. It’s (at least) five per borough. 25 citywide.

    http://legistar.council.nyc.gov/LegislationDetail.aspx?ID=2460476&GUID=D8F09A47-7738-45F0-B7E0-7046A5942ADD&Options=ID|Text|&Search=912

  • I’ve often argued that only a physical barrier capable of actually damaging a car will keep out drivers. In my city they’re planning segregated cycle lanes demarked by a roll curb, which is the same curb they use for parking, I’m willing to bet good money this will not prevent parked cars.

  • You might also be a better driver than most. I doubt many drivers have any qualms about blasting through a blind intersection when they have the green.

  • M to the I

    I don’t understand why the city council constantly legislates like they are transportation experts. They are constantly requiring DOT to do things and, luckily in this case, these are not bad ideas. But, there are 2!!! needs that must be met to make our streets safer, design and ENFORCEMENT. Why is one constantly being overlooked?! Why doesn’t the council hold the NYPD’s feet to the fire ever?

    Other than Councilmember Chin demanding a thorough investigation into a senior’s death in her district and charges by the driver who failed to yield, what is the council demanding from the NYPD? What can be done before someone dies? What about the rampant speeding? What about the failure to yield to peds and cyclists? What about driving on the sidewalk, into buildings, and through red lights? What about parking in crosswalks, blocking the box? Why does the NYPD believe that furthering ped and cyclist safety only mean ticketing peds and cyclists?

  • Andrew

    Because our elected officials are more concerned about getting traffic tickets themselves, or about their constituents getting tickets and whining to them, than about unnecessary loss of life.

    Windshield perspective, in other words.

  • Can someone help us understand where these intersections are located? We would like to post them to our badintersections.com map.

  • Ook a Dook

    I think Mr Rodriguez likes daylighting because it opens up more spaces
    for the illegal valet parking companies that operate in his district
    that commandeer public parking spaces and habitually block the local
    residents from using them. the corner spots that are daylighted would be
    great for setting up their A frame signs or using as a switching point
    for transactions. If he cares deeply about traffic safety he would move
    to outlaw the business model, but he won’t because the people running
    them and the venues that employ them are uhm, how should i phrase
    this??–his constituency.

  • Ook a Dook

    this is true. in rodriguez’s district the first ‘slow zone’ that was implemented had
    daylighted intersections that were habitually compromised by illegal
    parking by city employees, politicians who live in the area and others.
    eventually the daylighted intersections were returned to their previous
    state. so much for progress.

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