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NYC Pedestrian Safety Stays in Spotlight

The New York Police Dept. is establishing a new traffic division headed by a veteran chief. The NYPD told the Daily News the formation of the unit heralds gridlock and "wild cab drivers" as the "next serious quality of life battlegrounds" for the Giuliani Administration. 250 officers in Manhattan and 50 in the boroughs will command existing mounted, highway and helicopter units. City Transportation Commissioner Lee Sander told the Campaign last week that the NYC DOT helped form the division, whose launch will coincide with new DOT pedestrian safety initiatives. Yet the following day, the New York Post headlined an NYPD jaywalking crackdown. DOT officials subsequently denied that jaywalking enforcement is part of its pedestrian safety program, though the Department's chief spokesperson was quoted throughout the Post article. An analysis of NYC car-pedestrian crashes by Transportation Alternatives (T.A.) featured on the cover of Monday's Daily News shows that twice as many walkers are hit while crossing legally than while crossing against a signal, suggesting enforcement efforts would be better aimed at motorists. An earlier T.A. study found the NYPD issued fewer than 35 summonses a day for speeding and reckless driving (2 million vehicles a day ply NYC roads and streets), and that about 95% of speeding summonses were issued on limited access highways instead of on crowded city streets. A follow-up Daily News piece said DOT will install more hidden cameras at traffic lights in busy intersections, a cost-effective means of catching and deterring dangerous driving. The Campaign will meet with Commissioner Sander in September to discuss other measures like lower speed limits and traffic calming engineering methods, and ways to improve DOT response to the many NYC neighborhoods now seeking traffic relief (see MTR 38). A Daily News editorial today took DOT to task for not responding faster to pedestrian safety concerns.

Mobilizing the Region Number 44, 1 September 1995, published by the Tri-State Transportation Campaign


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Last updated: 4 April 1999