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New Bill Would Bring Crash Studies and Safety Improvements

12:52 PM EDT on March 10, 2008

An aide to City Council Speaker Christine Quinn sent this message late last week concerning new legislation that could bring improvements to dangerous locations for pedestrians and cyclists:

Dear Neighbor,

The New York City Council's Transportation Committee will be voting on a bill on Wednesday March 12th requiring the New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) to study and make improvements at dangerous locations. In an effort to address recent incidents of pedestrian and bicyclists fatalities, the Council has been working with the DOT to study these accident locations and to make safety improvements where necessary. This bill would require the DOT to conduct the following three types of safety analysis at traffic accident sites to improve pedestrian and bicyclist safety:

Annual Safety Audits of Pedestrian Accident Locations: DOT would be required to report its findings to the local community board and council member whose district the accident location is located.

Safety inspections at locations exhibiting a pattern of pedestrian and/or bicyclist accidents: DOT would be required to act upon the safety recommendations from the inspections, if any, and to make the results of its inspections and recommendations, if any, available to the public upon request.

Comprehensive study of pedestrian fatalities and serious injuries: DOT would be required to submit the study to the Council and Mayor.

Please feel to reach me at the office if you have further questions.

Some of these measures have been brewing for about a year now, at least. They were brought up at a contentious transpo committee hearing last April by Chairman John Liu, who seemed visibly frustrated that the (pre-Sadik-Khan) DOT appeared to have no set strategies for reducing, or even tallying, pedestrian injuries and fatalities. At that time, DOT reps said the agency was working on its first ever comprehensive study of pedestrian casualties, to be completed by year's end. DOT has not responded to repeated requests from Streetsblog regarding the status of the study.

Note: Advocates are already suggesting that the term "accident" be replaced by "crash."

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