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DOT Unveils Plan to Decrease Pedestrian Deaths in Bronx

By Eddie Small | February 20, 2015 8:50am
 DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg discusses the Vision Zero Action Plan for The Bronx.
DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg discusses the Vision Zero Action Plan for The Bronx.
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DNAinfo/Eddie Small

THE BRONX — More protected bike lanes, longer crossing times for pedestrians and extra lighting under elevated trains are all coming to The Bronx as part of the city’s plan for reducing traffic fatalities, according to the Department of Transportation.

The DOT recently unveiled its borough action plan under Vision Zero, a program that aims to eliminate deaths and injuries from cars in New York.

"In The Bronx, too many pedestrians are dying," DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg said at the South Bronx's Leon Senior Center. "Somewhere in the area of around 27 per year."

The DOT identified 25 "priority corridors" in The Bronx where roughly half of the borough's pedestrian deaths and injuries take place, including Bruckner Boulevard from Third Avenue to Whitlock Avenue, 149th Street from Oak Point Avenue to the 145th Street Bridge, and Grand Concourse from 138th Street to Mosholu Parkway, which collectively saw 12 pedestrian fatalities from 2009 to 2013, the most among the corridors over those years.

"Amazingly, that's just 25 corridors that total 65 miles in The Bronx," said DOT Deputy Commissioner Ryan Russo. "There are nearly 800 miles of streets in The Bronx, so in 8 percent of The Bronx's street miles, we host half of The Bronx's...severe injuries and fatalities."

The department also listed 46 "priority intersections" in the borough that encompass 15 percent of its pedestrian fatalities and severe injuries, which include Morris Avenue and East 149th Street, Willis Avenue and East 138th Street and East 170th Street and Grand Concourse.

By the end of 2017, the DOT plans to expand the amount of crossing time for pedestrians at every priority corridor and at every feasible priority intersection. The agency also plans to post 25 mph speed limit signs on all possible priority corridors.

The Vision Zero action plan also calls for installing additional lighting underneath elevated trains in The Bronx, as these areas typically see a large amount of crashes, and expanding the borough's bicycle network by installing an extra 5 miles of protected bike lanes per year.

Trottenberg characterized The Bronx as a particularly tough borough in terms of keeping walkers safe.

"You have a lot of wide arterial streets like the Grand Concourse, a lot of elevated subway lines like you have nearby here, the 2 and the 5, and major highways like the I-95," she said, "so we have a lot of safety challenges here in The Bronx."