New York City Mayor Eric Adams is leading a push to install “hundreds” of raised crosswalks around the city, according to a recent report by the New York Times. The effort is in response to a stark increase in traffic violence, with 273 traffic crash-related deaths in 2021, “the highest number of traffic deaths since 2013, according to city records.”
As the Times describes, raised crosswalks—which “try to slow traffic and make pedestrians”—have been known to improve street safety for vulnerable road users like pedestrians. There are currently only 17 in New York City, which plans to install 100 in the coming year. At the same time, transportation authorities will step up enforcement of drivers who fail to yield to pedestrians crossing the street, “a violation that became far less of a focus during the pandemic when police officials said the department was stretched thin because officers had fallen ill or been diverted to protests.” Authorities are also planning the redesign of “1,000 dangerous intersections” in the city
In a statement about the efforts, Department of Transportation Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez told the Times, “We are taking everything we have done to a higher level… We are declaring intersections are sacred spaces and should be protected.”
Research cited by the Times indicates that raised crosswalks mitigate traffic violence by making pedestrians more visible to drivers, and further that “pedestrian injuries have typically declined” following the installation of raised crosswalks in New York City specifically. A 2001 study cited in the Times article found that “the use of raised crosswalks resulted in lower overall vehicle speeds” at three sites in North Carolina and Maryland. “Raised crossings make the pedestrian more prominent in the driver’s field of vision,” a report by the Federal Highway Administration said. “Additionally, approach ramps may reduce vehicle speeds and improve motorist yielding. This countermeasure can reduce pedestrian crashes by 45%.”
More information on the effort to install raised crosswalks in New York City is available via the New York Times. More information on the efficacy of raised crosswalks is available here and here.