DOT is releasing a Vision Zero pedestrian safety plan for each borough. The first one was unveiled Monday in Jamaica, and a Manhattan event is underway this morning. The Queens report is a detailed analysis of where motorists are doing the most harm, and it provides a general strategy to prioritize street redesigns and traffic enforcement. But it also makes clear that the pace of planned engineering improvements is nowhere near what is needed to achieve the street safety gains sought under the Vision Zero program.
Queens has the second-highest per capita pedestrian fatality rate in the five boroughs, after Manhattan, according to DOT. Though down by nearly 50 percent since the 1980s, fatalities have spiked in recent years. The majority of pedestrian and cyclist deaths and serious injuries occur in the same clusters of neighborhoods, streets, and intersections.
The 50-page borough action plan [PDF] analyzes the life-threatening conditions faced every day by people who walk in Queens and catalogues the most dangerous locations. Topline findings include:
- Wide roads known as “arterials” comprise just 11 percent of Queens’ total street network but account for 61 percent of pedestrian fatalities.
- The 47 “priority corridors” identified by DOT make up 6 percent of the borough’s street network but account for 51 percent of crashes resulting in death or serious injury.
- Driver behavior is a primary or contributing cause in 75 percent of pedestrian deaths that occur on priority corridors.
- The 72 “priority intersections” identified by DOT make up a tiny fraction of the borough’s 18,150 intersections but account for 15 percent of serious crashes.
- Half of all serious pedestrian injuries and deaths occur in 17 square miles that DOT targets as “priority areas.”
- Crashes resulting in serious injury and death are mostly concentrated “in and around the early towns and villages of Queens County,” including Jamaica, Flushing, and Elmhurst, and often happen near elevated train tracks.
- Seniors make up 13 percent of Queens’ population but account for 35 percent of pedestrian deaths.