Nassau County, NY Cited for High Senior Pedestrian Deaths

<"">Senior pedestrian deaths appear to be surprisingly high in some areas in New York. The Associated Press (AP) reported that while Brooklyn, New York was rated as the second-worst offender, Long Island’s Nassau County came in third.

The study on which the findings were based, was conducted by the Tri-State Transportation Campaign between 2006 and 2008, said the AP. The study looked at 37 counties in Connecticut, New Jersey, and downstate New York, said the AP.

Although those aged 65 to 70 comprise 17 percent of the New York City, Westchester County, and Long Island populations, that demographic makes up 42 percent of all pedestrian deaths, noted the AP. The New York Post, citing study data, wrote that in Manhattan experienced 6.67 deaths per every 100,000 people, while Brooklyn’s rate is 5.46. Nassau County and, then, Staten Island followed.

The figures, points out Newsday, mean that seniors in Nassau County are killed when crossing the street more than three times in frequency when compared to other pedestrians in New York’s tri-state area.

The study, conducted by the nonprofit Tri-State Transportation Campaign looked at federal information on pedestrian accidents that resulted in death in downstate New York, as well as 19 counties in New Jersey and six counties in Connecticut, said Newsday. The information—derived from 2006 to 2008—are the most recent years in which data are available, said Newsday.

All together, a total of 39 senior citizens died in pedestrian traffic accidents that took place in Nassau County during the period reviewed, said Newsday. Long Island’s Suffolk County ranked 17th in the 37 counties examined, added Newsday.

Executive director of Vision Long Island, Eric Alexander, said that Nassau County has built up those areas where senior citizens had become accustomed to walking; more-and-more, these roads are taking on heavy auto traffic. Vision Long Island is a nonprofit group that supports so-called “smart growth,” said Newsday. Alexander pointed out that change is called for if communities are hoping to encourage seniors and younger citizens to live in downtown areas. “We are going to have to make our roads safer for walking,” he said. “We should have done it years ago,” quoted Newsday.

In addition to Vision Long Island, the Tri-State Transportation Campaign and AARP all support legislation to ensure roads accommodate cyclists and pedestrians in all demographic groups, said Newsday, which added that a “complete streets policy” is pending in the State Legislature.

If the bill becomes law, street plans would have to include “wider sidewalks, crosswalks with countdown timers, street trees, walkable medians, and other improvements,” said Alexander, according to Newsday. Some municipal governments oppose the bill, citing costs, said Alexander; however, proponents in Albany say the bill is taking precedence there. “I’m rarely hopeful about Albany,” he said, “but I’m hopeful.”

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