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.


TA Urges DOT to Expand Safe Streets for Seniors

TA recommends longer crossing times than DOT’s Safe Streets for Seniors program currently employs. Older pedestrians are probably the city’s most vulnerable street users, much more likely to die in traffic collisions than younger New Yorkers. It’s a public health concern that extends beyond fatality statistics: Fear of the street keeps seniors cooped up inside, […]

TSTC: Downstate Roads Rank Poorly for Senior Pedestrian Safety

Just days after 81-year-old Luis Ruiz was fatally struck by two drivers on Rockaway Parkway in Canarsie, the Tri-State Transportation Campaign has released a report showing that his death is not an aberration. Between 2008 and 2010, 435 pedestrians aged 60 or older were killed in collisions with cars in New Jersey, Connecticut and downstate […]

Report: Traffic Threatens Older Pedestrians Most of All

The intersection of Bleecker and Carmine is located in New York’s most dangerous county for older pedestrians. Photo: A. Strakey/Flickr. More than 10,000 pedestrians are injured every year on New York City streets. The people who are most at risk are senior citizens, new research from the Tri-State Transportation Campaign shows. Pedestrians over 60 years […]

Pennies for Pedestrians: NY State Spends Small on Street Safety

New York State devotes just 1 percent of its federal transportation funds to pedestrian infrastructure. Photo: Wikipedia It’s not news that a half-century of transportation spending to accommodate the automobile has made the typical American city hazardous and hostile to people on foot. But it’s shocking how we still devote so few resources to correcting […]

Manhattan Streets Especially Deadly for Seniors

TSTC 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 […]

Older Pedestrians More Likely to Die in Traffic: Will New York State DOT Act?

Manhattan is the most dangerous borough for residents age 60 and older to walk, and older pedestrians throughout the metro region suffer disproportionately from deadly traffic violence, according to a new report from the Tri-State Transportation Campaign. The report recommends that New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut adopt NACTO design guidelines for safer, multi-modal streets. […]