Manhattan Streets Especially Deadly for Seniors

tstcchart_1.jpgTSTC stats compiled from National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and US Census data

Older pedestrians face a disproportionate risk of death in Manhattan and other downstate New York areas, according to a new study by the Tri-State Transportation Campaign.

Though senior fatality rates are high across the region — people aged 65 and older accounted for 30 percent of pedestrian deaths during the three-year study period, yet comprised less than 12 percent of the area’s population — Manhattan was "the most dangerous place in downstate New York for older people to walk." Between 2005 and 2007, 50 people aged 65 or older were killed on Manhattan streets, an average of 8.27 deaths per 100,000 seniors. The same period saw 1.82 deaths per 100,000 people under age 65.

Nassau County ranked as having the second most dangerous downstate pedestrian environment for seniors, followed by Staten Island and Brooklyn. Queens and the Bronx ranked seventh and eighth, respectively.

"Clearly, older tri-state residents are suffering disproportionately," said William Stoner, AARP New York’s Associate State Director for Livable Communities. "Making our streets safe and livable to accommodate our aging population will require taking a close look at the infrastructure of our communities."

TSTC applauded efforts like DOT’s Safe Streets for Seniors, and suggested similar programs for other areas, particularly in Long Island and Connecticut. See the TSTC web site for complete report data and county and borough fact sheets.

Given this preventable public health crisis right in their own backyards, we’re expecting public calls to action from incensed local electeds any time now. C’mon Alan Gerson, where’s the Safe Streets for Seniors bill? When’s your camera-ready rant scheduled, Anthony Weiner? Anyone?

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