To Save Lives, NYC Must Lower Speeds
The Bloomberg administration laid out new plans to improve pedestrian safety this week after releasing a comprehensive study of pedestrian fatalities. Among the changes:
• 1,500 countdown pedestrian signals installed by 2011;
• Redesign 60 miles of street miles per year;
• Tame 20 two-way Manhattan crosstown intersections per year;
• Pilot a program for 20 mph neighborhood zones.
The 20 mph speed zones are of particular importance, since higher vehicle speeds result in higher rates of pedestrian fatality when there is a collision. Other cities, especially in Europe, have recognized this and have implemented speed limits of 20 mph or 30 kilometers per hour.
The results of dropping speeds have been spectacular. After London adopted the widespread use of 20 mph zones, road fatalities dropped 42 percent!