Today’s urban dwellers have high standards and expectations with regard to sustainability, safety, and livability. Residents are increasingly demanding more public green spaces, pedestrian, and bicycle only safe zones, better parking options and overall safer streets. Perhaps more than any other U.S. city, New York City is constrained by its geographical location and the fact that it is surrounding by water on three sides.
Given the city’s logistical challenges, city officials often struggle with how to successfully meet the needs of residents and achieve urban planning goals. The following are some of the initiatives that the New York City Department of Transportation has implemented to improve street safety and livability for all city residents.
With regard to “designing safer streets,” NYC DOT officials took steps to simplify intersections, add protected bikes lanes, build designated turn and through lanes and construct pedestrian safety islands in the middle of streets. Additionally, DOT officials added speed bumps and traffic slow zones, widened parking lanes and enacted turn bans at some intersections.
When examining the impact of these changes, DOT officials reviewed traffic-related data for Eighth and Ninth Avenues in Manhattan. Since the changes listed above were implemented, there has been a “35 percent decrease in injuries to all street users,” along Eighth Ave. and a “58 percent decrease in injuries to all street users,” along Ninth Ave. Additionally, businesses in the area report a that there’s been a “49 percent increase in retail sales,” a growth rate that is significantly higher than the three percent retail sales increase enjoyed throughout all of Manhattan.
While the DOT’s initiatives are proving to be exciting and successful at reducing traffic-related injuries, improving overall street safety and making our communities more livable; accidents are bound to still occur. Pedestrians, bicyclists, drivers or passengers who are injured in an accident can often benefit from the advice and assistance of an attorney.
Source: NYC.gov, “Measuring the Street: New Metrics for 21st Century Streets,” Aug. 27, 2015
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