Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced a $62 million investment as part of the groundbreaking Pedestrian Safety Action Plan, a multi-agency initiative to utilize engineering, education and enforcement campaigns to enhance pedestrian safety across Upstate New York and on Long Island. More than $22 million is going toward the first batch of pedestrian safety projects on state roads, which are currently underway, while $40 million is being invested to enhance pedestrian safety on local roadways.
“Pedestrian safety impacts residents of all ages and in all communities, and it is critical that we make our roads safer for everyone,” Governor Cuomo said. “By making significant investments in our roads, educating the public, and cracking down on lawbreakers, New York is supporting eco-friendly transportation in our downtowns while enhancing pedestrian safety in all corners of the state.”
In addition to the $62 million pedestrian safety investment, a police enforcement and education campaign focusing on correct motorist and pedestrian behavior will run June 15 – June 28. The new public service announcement See! Be Seen!, which can be viewed here, will also air across the state highlighting the rules of the road for both pedestrians and motorists at intersections. The Pedestrian Safety Action Plan utilizes engineering, education and enforcement to enhance pedestrian and motorist safety across New York State.
Pedestrian safety site evaluations began last year on state-owned roadways, including at 2,000 crosswalks without traffic signals and 2,400 signalized intersections. The assessments identified cost-effective upgrades that greatly improve safety for pedestrians. Upgrades include the installation of high visibility crosswalk markings and additional signs, as well as signalization enhancements, such as extended crossing times, countdown timers that tell pedestrians how many seconds they have to cross the street, and leading pedestrian intervals that help make pedestrians more visible to motorists by giving them a head start before traffic can turn onto the street.
The first round of pedestrian safety enhancement projects on state roads include:
Capital Region: Work began in August 2017 on a $2.8 million project to improve safety at 180 locations by next spring. So far, work has been completed at 62 sites, with an additional 77 scheduled for completion by the end of 2018.
Mohawk Valley: A $1.1 million project began last fall to improve safety at 140 locations. Work at approximately 105 sites has been completed, with the remainder of locations scheduled for completion by next summer.
Central New York: Work on a $1.9 million project to address 105 sites began last fall. Safety improvements have been made at about 85 sites, with another 70 sites expected to be completed by next summer.
Finger Lakes: A $3.4 million project began last year to enhance safety at 250 locations. So far, work at 32 sites has been completed, with the rest scheduled for completion by the end of next summer.
Western New York: As part of a $600,000 project that began last year, safety enhancements will be made at 140 locations, more than 20 of which are already complete. All work is expected to be finished this fall.
Southern Tier: Work will begin soon to make $3.8 million in safety upgrades at 123 locations. This year, 48 sites are expected to be addressed, with another 75 sites to be completed in the summer of 2019.
North Country: A $1 million project to improve safety at 72 locations began last fall. While 12 sites have been completed, another 30 sites will be addressed this year. Work at the final 30 sites will be complete by the end of next year.
Mid-Hudson Valley: Two projects will begin later this year to address 334 locations. Much of the work will be completed next fall, with final completion expected during the summer of 2020.
Long Island: A $7.5 million project began last year to enhance safety at more than 236 locations across Long Island. Work is expected to be completed next summer.
Projects on local roads were selected through the State Department of Transportation’s capital program. Funding is being provided for cost-effective upgrades that greatly improve safety for pedestrians. Upgrades could include the installation of high visibility crosswalk markings and additional signs, as well as signalization enhancements.
A list of local allocations by region can be seen here.
State Department of Transportation Acting Commissioner Paul A. Karas said, “Governor Cuomo’s investment in pedestrian safety makes our streets safer by protecting one of the most vulnerable groups of transportation system users. Combining public education and law enforcement efforts with road improvements, such as installation of new signs, pavement markings or pedestrian signals, will create safer, more walkable communities across New York State.”
The new pedestrian safety projects are funded through the Governor’s five-year $110 million New York State Pedestrian Safety Action Plan, which calls for a systemic approach to proactively address safety issues and minimize the potential for crashes through engineering, enforcement and education. The initiative launched in 2016 and will run through State Fiscal Year 2020. The plan targets improvements in communities outside of New York City. The city has an established pedestrian safety program that receives millions in federal funding from NYSDOT.
Analysis of crash data included in the 2016 plan determined that an average of 300 pedestrians are killed and 15,000 injured by motor vehicles in New York State each year and more than 25 percent of motor-vehicle-related fatalities are pedestrians. Sixty-one percent of the contributing factors to these crashes were related to driver actions, including driver inattention and failure to yield right of way. The top two pedestrian actions that contributed to crashes were pedestrian error and pedestrian failure to yield right of way.
The Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee provides training for law enforcement and justice officials, organizes an annual pedestrian safety law enforcement campaign, and encourages police agencies in 20 “focus communities,” with the highest number of pedestrian crashes, to apply for traffic safety grants. The enforcement efforts focus on educating motorists and pedestrians about the rules of the road with the goal of improving safety for both drivers and pedestrians.
During the two-week operation, local police in Upstate New York and on Long Island will patrol busy pedestrian corridors and issue warning notices, informative tip cards, and in some cases, tickets, to both motorists and pedestrians found violating the law.
State Department of Motor Vehicles Executive Deputy Commissioner and Acting Chair of the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee Terri Egan said, “Governor Cuomo’s Pedestrian Safety Action Plan is a life-saving effort and we are proud to do our part. Through enforcement, education and investments in critical infrastructure improvements, this initiative is making our roads safer and communities more welcoming for all. As we enter the mid-way point in this effort, the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee will continue to stress the importance of following the rules of the road and will work closely with local law enforcement to crack down on violators to ensure the safety of pedestrians and motorists alike.”
The State Department of Health also released their third public service announcement about pedestrian safety, focusing on the correct ways for motorists and pedestrians to navigate intersections. The majority of crashes are caused by driver inattention, pedestrian error and failure for either party to yield properly. DOH has worked to engage local traffic safety boards, schools and others in public outreach, and to provide training for safety organizations.
State Department of Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker said, “While pedestrian-related traffic injuries and fatalities remain a major public health concern, they are also preventable. Education plays a critical role in ensuring safety at intersections and understanding the rules of the road. We look forward to continue working with our state and local partners on this important initiative.”