Pedestrian Safety is very important to members of the Queens Public Transportation Committee. But that is not to say that we are in agreement with the “Vision Zero” program. In fact, we believe that many aspects of the program are fundamentally flawed because it is a program of young urban planers and not mature traffic engineers.
An interesting summary of the program is available in a New York Daily News editorial.
One important part of the problem is pedestrian education. Education is typically embodied is slogans such as:
Cross at intersections.
Cross at the green, not in between.
Pay attention. Look up when crossing the street, not at your phone. Don’t text.
Don’t wear headphones or ear buds when crossing the street. They prevent you from hearing traffic that you may not see.
Look both ways (cities in England often have this message on the pavement at crosswalks). Look left, look right, and then look left again, and over your shoulder for turning vehicles.
Use sidewalks, not roadways.
If you must walk in the roadway, walk facing traffic so that you can see approaching vehicles.
Wear light colored clothing (have you ever seen someone in all black, with a black hoodie, get out of a black car on the roadway side?). If possible, wear a reflector or reflectorized clothing.
If you must walk in the street, walk facing traffic.
Don’t step suddenly in front of buses or trucks. They can’t see someone who is close to the vehicle.
Watch out for buses or trucks when they are backing up. They have very little ability to see anything directly behind the vehicle.
Use pedestrian pushbuttons (but note that if you see them in New York City, they are generally not connected).
Have you ever seen such a message from the city?
Another important safety consideration is to get pedestrians off the street. Consider the benefits of QueensRail™ where people wait in protected stations for transit vs. Select Bus plans on Woodhaven Boulevard where the city wants to move pedestrians to the middle of the roadway!
The other side of pedestrian and motorist safety is law enforcement of regulations that affect crashes. There is no evidence that speed, except very high speed, has any effect on crashes. Some areas where law enforcement could have an effect are:
Driving without a license multiple times (but this can significantly affect undocumented immigrants).
Multiple license suspensions.
Multiple crashes within a short period of time
So what is the city doing to protect the public? We say not much. The city acts on matters only when they can disadvantage the general motoring public.