Williamsburg, Lower East Side, Corona and Ditmas Park Are Small-Street Danger Zones

A new analysis of city crash data reveals that the intersection of Ludlow and Rivington streets on the Lower East Side is the most-dangerous one-lane crossing in the city. Photo: Ben Verde
A new analysis of city crash data reveals that the intersection of Ludlow and Rivington streets on the Lower East Side is the most-dangerous one-lane crossing in the city. Photo: Ben Verde

Pedestrians and cyclists rightly consider fear big, multi-lane streets — but a new report points out that small, single lane streets can be perilous as well.

The report by Localize.city, a data-driven website, crunched NYPD collision data to find that many dangerous small streets are clustered together. The neighborhoods with the most crashes on small streets between 2013 and 2018 were Williamsburg, the Lower East Side, North Corona and Ditmas Park.

There are 25,350 intersections of one-lane roadways in the city. They comprise roughly 40 percent of all intersections, but are the location of only eight percent of all injury-causing crashes — with an average of just .2 crashes between 2013 and 2018, according to data compiled by Localize.city analyst Israel Schwartz.

But many neighborhoods have extremely dangerous one-lane crossings — with the most dangerous averaging close to seven crashes over the same five-year period. It’s a finding that will surprise many people, who might be inclined to think that one-lane roadways are safer.

It's not the first time Queens has been cited for danger. This map is from 2015, when local politicians called for more safety improvements.
It’s not the first time Queens has been cited for danger. This map is from 2015, when local politicians called for more safety improvements.

“When you have many modes of transportation converging into a narrow corridor and through busy residential neighborhoods, it can increase the risk of crashes,” said Alon Goldstein, an urban planner with Localize.city. “That’s what we see on both sides of the Williamsburg Bridge, where you have a lot of vehicle, bike and pedestrian traffic cramming into local streets.”

The Localize findings include:

  • Many dangerous one-way crossings are clustered in Corona, Schwartz said. For example, six pedestrians and one cyclist were injured at the intersection of 37th Avenue and 101st Street, while five pedestrians and one cyclist were injured two blocks away at 37th Avenue and 99th Street. The Avenue is a commercial strip with parking on both sides and no bike lanes.
  • The Lower East Side also has a cluster of dangerous one-way crossings. Eighteen pedestrians were injured on Rivington Street between 2013 and 2018, Localize found. Seven pedestrians and four cyclists were injured at or near where Rivington intersects with Ludlow Street. Five pedestrians and two cyclists were injured near the intersection of Rivington and Clinton streets.
  • Williamsburg, eight pedestrians and 11 cyclists were injured in a 10-block radius. Five cyclists and two pedestrians were hurt at the intersection of South Third  and Keap Streets. Seven cyclists and four pedestrians were injured four blocks away at the corner of South Third and Havemeyer streets. At Hooper and South Fifth streets, two pedestrians and four cyclists were injured between 2013 and 2018.
  • In Ditmas Park, 13 pedestrians and cyclists were injured along Newkirk Avenue over the five-year period. At Newkirk and Argyle Road, four pedestrians and three cyclists were injured. At Newkirk and Rugby Road, four pedestrians and two cyclists were injured.

Street safety advocates say the city needs to improve protections for pedestrians in one lane streets by updating them to give pedestrians more space.

“New York City needs to be redesigning all its streets to comply with a Vision Zero standard so people are safe getting where they need to go,” said Thomas DeVito, Director of Advocacy at Transportation Alternatives. “This means dramatically expanding the implementation of curb extensions, daylighting every intersection, further automating enforcement against speeding, illegal parking and right of way violations, as well as building out a comprehensive protected bike lane network.”

Department of Transportation spokeswoman Lolita Avila told Streetsblog, “DOT takes each crash seriously and is continuously looking for new solutions to help eliminate traffic related injuries and deaths. We do recognize that overall fatalities have gone up so far this year, and we are monitoring trends closely. With those trends in mind, DOT will soon release Vision Zero Borough Pedestrian Safety Action Plans, updated for the first times since 2015, which will refocus where we target our interventions, safety engineering, enforcement action, and education initiatives.”

The soon-to-be-updated action plans are archived here. Localize’s website is at www.localize.city.

  • AnoNYC

    Once congestion pricing is enacted the Lower East Side should receive a reconfiguration where most streets are pedestrianized.

    I think a great pilot would be between Delancey and E Houston St, from Allen to Essex St. All north/south streets between should be pedestrian only and allow for deliveries along Rivington and Stanton St, 5 MPH speed limit (no for-hire or private autos). Very heavy pedestrian activity, including late night.

  • JarekFA

    They should but they’d never pedestrianize an exit off of the Williamsburg Bridge.

  • david

    I ride the rivington st lane often. It’s cars and trucks jockeying to get to the bridge. Prob could use a light.

  • AnoNYC

    Well Orchard St is already pedestrianized on Sundays. Maybe after CP we will have more options.

  • Okabe

    If these drivers were smart they’d go straight & turn on Broome st instead of turning on rivington. It goes to show how dangerous that turn off essex & delancey use to be for pedestrians. the street only gets dangerous when you have drunk drivers ignoring the stop signs & tail gating cars

  • Jonathan Arnold

    Definitely a problem area. However, I have also seen people walk right in front of cars not paying any attention what so ever. I think a light would help as well.

  • Joe Ha Yeah

    Heading South on Ludlow, Broome @ Ludlow is East bound & Rivington @ Ludlow is West bound…

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