New York’s transportation commissioner, Janette Sadik-Kahn, said recently that recent declines in traffic- related deaths are attributable in part to the city’s aggressive campaign to improve street safety. Some of these projects and changes include:
•· Pedestrian plazas in the middle of intersections
•· Better marking of crosswalks
•· Bike lanes
•· Timed traffic signals, often called countdown signals, at pedestrian crossings
•· More aggressive enforcement of traffic laws
•· Poetic reminders and safety messages posted a high-accident locations near schools and cultural institutions
•· Slow traffic zones around schools
•· Closing streets permanently or temporarily
Despite improvements such as these, drivers still ignore stop signs and violate speed limits routinely. Ms. Sadik-Kahn said that they represent only the beginning of a long-term campaign to improve street safety in New York. Many of the improvements listed above resulted from a detailed statistical survey of traffic accidents that was released in 2010. The traffic commissioner, who was appointed by Mayor Bloomberg in 2007, has set ambitious goals for reducing traffic fatalities.
Source: New York Times, “Personal Health: Giving City Streets Built-In Safety Features,” by Jane Brody, Feb. 6. 2012.