Posted in Pedestrian Accidents on September 24, 2018
Over the past several years, New York City has made significant traffic safety improvements for pedestrians. Thanks largely to the Vision Zero Initiative, pedestrian fatalities decreased by 32 percent in 2017, reaching the lowest levels since 1910.
While the reduction in fatalities should be certainly celebrated, pedestrians are still being struck every day in New York City. In 2017, 11,442 pedestrians were injured in motor vehicle collisions – the highest annual total since 2013.
We wanted to know where pedestrians have been and may still be vulnerable.
We worked with data visualization firm 1Point21 Interactive to analyze collision data from the NYPD for the years 2013 – 2017. We identified 100 high crash intersections in New York City with high numbers of pedestrian accidents from 2013-2017. We then ranked them using our Pedestrian Danger Index (PDI), calculated according to crash volume and pedestrian injury severity at each intersection.
These 100 intersections accounted for 2,551 pedestrian collisions, resulting in 2,693 injuries and 41 fatalities from 2013-2017.
Hover over each circle to reveal more information for each intersection. For the best experience, rotate mobile device.
The Most Dangerous Pedestrian Intersection in New York
|wdt_ID||Rank||On Street||Cross Street||Borough||Crashes||Injuries||Fatals||PDI|
|1||1||EASTERN PARKWAY||UTICA AVENUE||BROOKLYN||55||56||0||223|
|2||2||AMSTERDAM AVENUE||WEST 125 STREET||MANHATTAN||52||52||0||208|
|3||3||7 AVENUE||WEST 42 STREET||MANHATTAN||27||55||1||202|
|4||4||8 AVENUE||WEST 42 STREET||MANHATTAN||46||46||0||184|
|5||5||EAST 125 STREET||LEXINGTON AVENUE||MANHATTAN||44||46||0||182|
|6||6||ATLANTIC AVENUE||NOSTRAND AVENUE||BROOKLYN||43||46||0||181|
|7||7||BRUCKNER BOULEVARD||HUNTS POINT AVENUE||BRONX||40||42||1||176|
|8||8||EAST FORDHAM ROAD||WEBSTER AVENUE||BRONX||38||39||0||155|
|9||9||AVENUE H||FLATBUSH AVENUE||BROOKLYN||38||38||0||152|
|10||10||CHURCH AVENUE||FLATBUSH AVENUE||BROOKLYN||36||38||0||150|
Pedestrian Crashes and Injuries at the Top 100 Intersections: By Borough
Manhattan has the Most Dangerous Intersections
Manhattan dominates the list, with 41 of the 100 top intersections located in the borough, accounting for 1057 crashes, 1115 injuries, and 10 fatalities. 4 of the top 10 intersections are in Manhattan, including the junction of Amsterdam Avenue and West 125 Street, which accounted for 52 crashes and 52 injuries. Another notable intersection occurs at 7th Avenue and West 42nd Street, where just 27 crashes led to 55 injuries.
Despite being the smallest borough in NYC, it’s no surprise that Manhattan has the highest quantity of pedestrian collisions. It’s the most densely populated borough and is often considered the cultural, entertainment, and financial capital of the world – home to some of the iconic NYC landmarks, such as Times Square and Wall Street. As a result, Manhattan typically attracts the most tourists of all other boroughs – making it a notoriously difficult area to commute by automobile.
Brooklyn is Home to the Top-Ranked Intersection
With 26 intersections, NYC’s most populous borough had the second-most instances on our list. All of these accounted for 690 total crashes, leading to 732 injuries and 11 fatalities.
Despite having lower total crashes and injuries, Brooklyn was home to the most troublesome intersection in our analysis. The cross of Eastern Parkway and Utica Avenue accounted for 55 total crashes and 56 injuries – more than any other intersection in our list.
Eastern Parkway has long been a major concern in the borough – it has the second-most pedestrian fatalities and serious injuries in Brooklyn. An outdated road not designed for modern infrastructure and traffic flow, Eastern Parkway’s major issue seems to be intersections controlled not by stop signs rather than traffic signals – resulting in unpredictable behavior in both motorists and pedestrians.
This can lead to potential congestion, confusion, and danger to other drivers and pedestrians, and may be a large focus of Vision Zero’s efforts in the years to come.
Queens – Less Crashes, but Ranked Second in Fatalities
The largest borough in the city had just 16 intersections in our list, accounting for 367 crashes and 392 injuries. However, it had the highest amount of total fatalities, with 12 – higher than any other borough on our list. More than half of the intersections at Queens had at least one fatality, including the intersection at Jamaica Avenue and Woodhaven Blvd that had 3 fatalities.
Queens has had a reputation for danger among pedestrians – in recent years, streets such as Queens Boulevard have been deemed “the Boulevard of Death” by local media. Much of the issue in this borough stems from a high number of arterial roads – streets with four or more lanes which simultaneously accommodate faster speeds and higher volumes of pedestrian and automobile traffic. Examples of such streets include:
- Queens Boulevard
- Northern Boulevard
- Woodhaven Boulevard
Their effect on pedestrian safety in Queens is large – despite only comprising 11% of the borough’s streets, they’re the site of 61% of pedestrian fatalities in Queens.
The Bronx – Notable High-Crash Intersections
With 15 intersections, the Bronx has lower total crashes, injuries, and fatalities than most of the other boroughs in our analysis. However, there still remain trouble spots in the region that may be worth further investigation.
Of note are the top two intersections in the borough, a junction at Bruckner Boulevard and Hunts Point Avenue (40 crashes, 42 injuries, and 1 fatality), and the cross streets of East Fordham Road and Webster Avenue (38 crashes, 39 injuries) – ranked 7th and 8th overall.
Interestingly, East Fordham and Webster border Fordham Plaza, one of the busiest transit hubs in the city. With as many as 80,000 pedestrians traveling through Fordham Road daily, it’s no surprise that this is a location with a high amount of pedestrian accidents.
The Impact of Vision Zero
Many of the high-crash intersections included in our analysis pose a great concern for the safety of both commuters and pedestrians along New York City streets. However, the Vision Zero initiative has done an admirable job of targeting a large share of these locations, putting a priority on those streets and intersections which pose the most trouble.
Many of the intersections in our list have already been targeted by the initiative as a high priority. 79 of our top 100 intersections have implemented, or are in the process of undergoing, Vision Zero improvements.
- The top-ranking intersection, Eastern Parkway and Utica Avenue at Brooklyn, is designated one of five Vision Zero Priority Intersections in the borough. Additionally, Vision Zero is seriously evaluating the shortcomings of Eastern Parkway, with plans to improve the traffic flow and pedestrian visibility throughout the corridor in the coming years.
- Many of the streets in Queens listed in our study are a focus of Vision Zero’s efforts. Arterial roads have undergone significant improvements, with more to come in the near future. Queens Boulevard, for example, has undergone lower speed limits, decreased lanes, and has transformed a traffic lane into a dedicated bike lane. Moving forward, plans are approved for a renovation project in 2019 that calls for tree-lined medians and continuous walking and bike paths to further accommodate pedestrians.
Vision Zero has done an extensive study of the Bruckner-Hunts Point intersection at the Bronx, designating it a Priority Intersection on a Priority Corridor and recommending a series of improvements to promote pedestrian safety.
Still, there are several intersections that we identified as high risk for pedestrians that have not been a focus of any specific improvements.
Intersections on our List without Pedestrian Improvements
|Street 1||Street 2||Borough||Crashes|
|7th Avenue||West 42nd Street||Manhattan||27|
|East Fordham Road||Webster Avenue||Bronx||38|
|Atlantic Avenue||Rockaway Avenue||Brooklyn||22|
|5th Avenue||West 34th Street||Manhattan||27|
|Kings Highway||Nostrand Avenue||Brooklyn||24|
|2nd Avenue||East 61st Street||Manhattan||27|
|Atlantic Avenue||Logan Street||Brooklyn||24|
|Eastern Parkway||Schenectady Avenue||Brooklyn||25|
|Fort Washington Avenue||West 165 Street||Manhattan||24|
|Chrystie Street||Delancey Street||Manhattan||24|
|Canal Street||Mott Avenue||Manhattan||22|
|East 233rd Street||White Plains Road||Bronx||22|
|Buffalo Avenue||Eastern Parkway||Brooklyn||20|
|Glenwood Road||Nostrand Avenue||Brooklyn||20|
|East 180 Street||Webster Avenue||Bronx||22|
|80th Street||Cooper Avenue||Queens||19|
|Canal Street||Lafayette Street||Manhattan||21|
|3rd Avenue||East 58th Street||Manhattan||20|
|Rutland Road||Utica Avenue||Brooklyn||20|
|Murray Street||West Street||Manhattan||20|
Perhaps these intersections would make good candidates for Leading Pedestrian Interval improvements. Also known as “pedestrian head starts,” crosswalks with this technology display a walk sign well before a green light is shown to car traffic. LPIs give pedestrians a few seconds to enter the crosswalk before any vehicle traffic is allowed to enter the intersection. They are considered to be one of the lowest cost pedestrian safety enhancements available and have been shown to reduce pedestrian collisions by as much as 60 percent. The city is aiming to deploy more than 800 every year – and has been so helpful that it is being considered a “best practice” by the National Association of City Transportation Officials. LPIs are currently in place at 2,688 intersections throughout New York City, yet none of the above intersections use them in place.
Other improvements could include:
- Crosswalk improvements. This can be as minor as a fresh new paint job, or as major as a brand new crosswalk where pedestrian traffic is heavy.
- Raised medians for crossing pedestrians. This includes extended medians and compact versions called pedestrian safety islands. These not only provide safe shelter for pedestrians in wider roads, but also shorten the crossing distance for any pedestrians. Additionally, their raised nature provides a useful visual cue for any oncoming traffic. Extended medians also provide the added benefit of narrowing the intersection for drivers, minimizing unpredictable behavior in automobiles.
- Visibility improvements. Visual barriers at crosswalks are a common problem that prevents drivers from properly yielding to pedestrians on time. By removing these barriers, drivers can be more aware of anyone looking to cross the street. This can include extending curbs to bring pedestrians into the line of sight, or even removing curbside parking spaces to maximize visibility.
- Converting stop sign intersections to signal lights. Compared to timed traffic signals, stop signs can cause erratic, unpredictable behavior than can contribute to pedestrian danger.
- Adjusting timing of traffic signals. Synchronizing timing across blocks on a street causes “green waves” that allow uniform traffic. Additionally, staggering left turn phases can separate any turning traffic from oncoming traffic and pedestrians.
About the Data
Our data comes from the NYPD and includes all pedestrian collisions from 2013 to 2017. However, the data did not include latitude and longitude data, so we geocoded it based on cross street and borough information.
Vision Zero improvement data reflects – Leading Pedestrian Interval projects, Vision Zero Priority Intersections, Enhanced Crossings and Street Improvement Projects.