Pedestrian Safety Initiatives in New York City

Originally Presented: August 16, 2012, 1:00-2:30 PM Eastern Time


This webinar provided detailed information about New York City’s strategy for improving pedestrian safety in the City, highlighting two examples of ongoing programs.

Matthew Roe (New York City DOT) provided an introduction to New York City’s Pedestrian Safety Action Plan, highlighting some of the city’s crash trends and goals. This presentation also examined progress made toward the City’s goals and some specific examples of projects currently being implemented.

Rob Viola (New York City DOT) discussed New York City’s Neighborhood Slow Zones program, a community demand and crash data based program that will reduce the speed limit from 30 mph to 20 mph in urban neighborhoods and add safety measures on selected roadways in order to change driver behavior. The ultimate goal of the Neighborhood Slow Zone program is to lower the incidence and severity of crashes and improve safety and mobility for pedestrians. This is achieved by identifying small, self-contained areas, setting the speed limit at 20 mph, announcing the presence of a Slow Zone with signage and gateways, and creating a self-enforced, reduced speed area via traffic calming treatments.

Mr. Roe also discussed left turns and pedestrian safety improvement techniques. Among pedestrian fatalities and severe injuries in New York City, left turns are three times as frequently involved as right turns, despite comparatively lower volumes. But left turns on two-way and one-way streets, on downtown and neighborhood streets, and on streets with and without separated bicycle paths present different problems and call for different solutions. NYCDOT has implemented a broad array of design, regulatory, and signal timing techniques for improving left turn safety, some of them novel. This presentation described such techniques as split signal phases, leading pedestrian intervals, daylighting, and bike path mixing zones as applied at a variety of streets in New York City, from major arterials in lower-density areas to high-pedestrian CBD intersections in Manhattan. The presenters also discussed how to address barriers to median implementation, and answered questions from the attendees.


  • Matthew Roe, New York City DOT
  • Rob Viola, New York City DOT

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