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Older pedestrians in peril

Pedestrians cross a street on Broadway at one of the deadliest intersections in Manhattan.
Pedestrians cross a street on Broadway at one of the deadliest intersections in Manhattan.
Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images

A 10-year study conducted between 2003-2012 has revealed that 38% of all pedestrian fatalities in downstate New York have involved people age of 60 and up, despite the fact that they only make up a little more than 17% of the region’s population. As expected, Manhattan ranked the “most perilous” of all 41 counties surveyed in the tri-state area, including those in New Jersey and Connecticut, with 42.5% of the borough’s 364 pedestrians killed having been senior citizens.

The Study, titled “Older Pedestrians at Risk: A Ten Year Survey and Look Ahead,” ranked Long Island’s Nassau County second and Suffolk County eighth most dangerous,” according to Renata Silberblatt, senior analyst for the Tri-State Transportation Campaign, a non-profit organization which conducted the research.

Silberblatt based her conclusions on data gathered by the National HighwayTraffic Administration’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System Encyclopedia as well as the United States Census Bureau to come up with her figures. Tri-State then used their findings to make specific recommendations to New York State’s Department of Transportation including requesting it to “expand the SafeSeniors program” initiated on Long Island to improve safety near bus stops and train stations, as well as to reduce speed limits in both residential and commercial zones.

“As our population ages, it is imperative for municipalities and state officials to design communities with the needs of active older residents in mind,” she stated.

It should also be noted that New York State Governor Andrew was in Manhattan earlier this month where he signed a bill to lower the City’s speed limit from 30 mph to 25 mph in support of Mayor De Blasio’s “Vision Zero” plan to eliminate traffic deaths within the next 10 years.

“When you lower the speed limit, the chances of a person being killed is cut in half when you reduce the speed limit of the moving vehicle from 30 to 25,” commented Department of Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg.

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