The tendency toward infrastructure that favors cars over people is a nationwide trend that started in the mid-20th century. To this day, many officials continue to readily approve major road expansion projects in residential areas, in spite of admonitions from transportation experts of the inherent danger of such infrastructure to pedestrians and cyclists.
Arterials and Non-drivers
The Tri-State Transportation Campaign (TSTC), a non-profit organization which advocates for balanced, transit-friendly and equitable transportation in the Tri-State Area, studied federal transportation data from 2010 through 2012 and found that 1,236 pedestrians were killed on Connecticut, New Jersey and downstate New York roads. In 2012 alone, there were 427 pedestrian deaths, 394 deaths in 2011 and 415 deaths in 2010 in the Tri-State Area.
It found that arterial roads—multi-lane roads with typical speed limits of 40 mph or higher and few accommodations for pedestrians and bicyclists—are the most deadly for non-drivers in the area.
The TSTC recommends that state and local governments make pedestrian safety a policy and investment in transportation capital plans a priority. It recommends increased state and local spending on Safe Routes to School, Routes to Transit and Safe Routes for Seniors, programs which protect pedestrians and prioritize walking and biking improvements using federal transportation programs.
The TSTC also recommends state and local governments monitor the implementation of Complete Streets laws and policies to ensure that new or retrofitted roads have safe accommodations for bicyclists, pedestrians, transit riders and motorists of all ages and abilities. It also proposes that congress expand such federal programs as TIGER and Transportation Alternatives which provide substantial funding for bicycle and pedestrian projects.
There are many roads designed with little or no consideration for the needs of pedestrians and bicyclists, putting lives at risk. The TSTC recommends simple, low-cost safety improvements to make these roads safer for non-drivers, such as well-marked crosswalks, pedestrian countdown signals, and pedestrian crossing islands.