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A Hundred Million Dollar Step to Safer Roadways: The Five-Year “Pedestrian Safety Action Plan”

The Governor’s making moves for a safer New York when it comes to pedestrian accidents. On June 3rd, Governor Cuomo announced his $110-million-dollar plan to make the roads of New York safer for pedestrians. And honestly, us Long Islanders need to pay close attention to this plan as it develops, so we can voice our concerns and understand how any changes being made will impact our lives.

Did you know that out of all pedestrian accidents statewide (excluding New York City), Long Island alone accounts for 28.5% of them? Let’s try and put that into some sort of perspective. Imagine a paper map of New York with a thumbtack for every pedestrian accident, and our little peninsula covered head to toe, almost unrecognizable, with thumbtacks.

Why are pedestrian accidents so prevalent on Long Island? There has got to be a good reason, and a well thought-out fix in motion. According to Newsday, just over a five-year period, Long Island has seen a staggering 6,760 accidents involving pedestrians.

So, what can we tell you thus far?

  • This action plan excludes New York City
  • It’s too soon to know how much of this plan’s funding will go toward Long Island
  • First action is to identify the most dangerous intersections statewide
  • Second is to hire engineers to make these intersections safer for pedestrians

So, how can these engineers, according to the Pedestrian Safety Action Plan, make these intersections safer?

  • Re-adjusting traffic signal timing
  • Adding/upgrading crosswalks for maximum visibility
  • Installing more signals for pedestrians
  • Adding new “No Turn On Red” as well as “Yield to Pedestrians” signs

We certainly look forward to upgraded traffic signals, letting us know when it’s safe to walk. We’ve all endured that fear of crossing huge intersections in our lives – so we think that’s a great aspect of the plan.

But will engineering and adding road signs really be enough to tackle this serious problem? With an action plan like this, we all need to be pragmatic – everyone who drives, and everyone who walks. Luckily, Department of Transportation spokesman Gary Holmes recognizes this. He doesn’t believe we can simply “engineer our way out of the problem”, either. In fact, Holmes states that “It’s really a goal to change the behavior of both the pedestrian and the driver.”

So, get ready for some changes on the roadways. We’ll make sure to keep you informed as best as we can. We’ll start that off with a link to an educational spot regarding the Pedestrian Safety Action Plan. This link will educate you on both the engineering taking place as well as law enforcement regarding this plan.