Launched by the de Blasio administration in 2014, the Vision Zero program began a city-wide effort to completely eliminate traffic fatalities and injuries. While progress is being made (last year saw the fewest traffic fatalities in New York City on record), traffic accidents and fatalities are still a reality of life for pedestrians, cyclists and drivers across the five boroughs.
In order to raise public awareness of this ongoing problem and where we are most likely to be affected by it, a new report from Localize.city analyzed citywide data to reveal the 12 neighborhoods and intersections where pedestrians or cyclists are most likely to be injured or killed in a traffic accident.
Given that some streets are busier than others, the report factors in median daily traffic in order to come up with a rough idea of accidents per vehicle at a given intersection. A crash is considered to have occurred at an intersection if it came within a 30-foot radius.
Using that methodology, these are the twelve most dangerous intersections in New York City:
- Brooklyn: Williamsburg, between Lee Avenue and North Seventh/Metropolitan Avenue, from Berry Street to Bushwick Avenue
- Brooklyn: Downtown Brooklyn, between Atlantic Avenue and Willoughby Street, from Boerum Place and Bond Street
- Brooklyn: Crown Heights/Bedford-Stuyvesant, between Pacific and Fulton streets, from Bedford to Brooklyn avenues
- The Bronx: Fordham/University Heights, between Aqueduct Avenue and Ryer Avenue, from West Fordham Road and West Tremont Ave
- Manhattan: Lower East Side, between Spring and Grand streets, from Broadway to Forsyth Street
- Queens: Corona, between 35th and Roosevelt Avenues, from 94th to 108th streets
- Queens: Jackson Heights, between 37th Ave and Broadway, from 76th Street to 84th Street
- Queens: Flushing, between College Point Avenue and Parsons Boulevard, from 37th to Franklin Avenue
- Queens: Ridgewood, between Woodward and Myrtle avenues, from Grove Street to Forest Ave
- Queens: Jamaica, between 89th to 90th avenues, from 164th Street to 168th Place
- Staten Island: St. George/Tompkinsville, from Jersey to Bay streets, between Victory Boulevard to Ford Place/Taft Avenue
- Staten Island: Stapleton, between Bay and Van Duzer streets, from Wright to Tompkins streets
One pattern that becomes clear from these high-risk intersections is that accidents are much more likely to occur near the approaches to elevated tracks or bridges. Particularly in areas around major bridges, “you have heavy vehicle, bike, and pedestrian traffic all cramming into a narrow corridor, increasing the risk of crashes,” said Localize.city urban planner Andrew Lassiter.
This list serves as a reminder to residents and visitors of the above neighborhoods to take extra caution when walking, biking or driving the streets. But it is also a necessary reminder to the rest of us to never let our guard down, no matter how short or long the distance that we are traveling. This is especially true for children and the elderly – nearly 75% of child pedestrian traffic fatalities occur within 10 blocks of the home. For elderly pedestrians, that number is over 50%.
No matter who you are or where you are, we could all afford to be more safety-conscious as we travel through the city. Pedestrians in New York City can stay safe by following a few basic safety rules, such as:
- Never cross the street in front of a parked vehicle
- Make yourself visible at night or in inclement weather by wearing eye-catching clothes or carrying a flashlight
- Walk on the sidewalk whenever possible. When there is no sidewalk, walk against traffic
- Never assume a driver sees you and make eye contact whenever possible – communicate intent
- Don’t rely on pedestrian crossing signals. Make looking both ways before crossing the street a habit
- Don’t wear headphones or talk on the phone when crossing the street – stay aware of your surroundings
Cyclists who rely on bikes to get them around New York City can attest to how dangerous the streets can be when appropriate traffic laws are not obeyed. Here are tips for staying safe while biking through New York City:
- Ride predictably and in a straight line. Weaving in and out of traffic puts you at risk
- Establish eye contact with drivers whenever possible to be sure that they are recognizing your turning signals
- Watch out for car doors, particularly from parked cars. Getting “doored” is one of the most common causes of injury to NYC cyclists
- Wear a helmet. While these are only legally required for children age 13 or younger, they are highly recommended for all bike riders
- Don’t listen to music. The law says you may ride with one earbud in, but it is always safer to focus on your surroundings and save music for later
Public safety is something that we all play a part in and that we all benefit from. By obeying all traffic rules, staying constantly aware of our surroundings and communicating with the pedestrians, cyclists and drivers that we share the road with, we can work to make New York City safe for everyone, no matter what neighborhood you live in.