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Transportation Alternatives: 317 New Yorkers Die In Traffic Accidents Every Year

Traffic

First Posted: 06/09/11 12:00 PM ET Updated: 08/09/11 06:12 AM ET

Someone is killed in a New York City traffic accident every 35 hours, according to a new report from the advocacy group Transportation Alternatives and the Drum Major Institute For Public Policy.

From WNYC:

New York has fewer road fatalities per capita than any other large U.S. city, according to the city DOT. But in European cities, like Paris and London, the fatality rate is one half of New York's.

"For us to pat ourselves on the back to have reduced traffic fatalities as much as we have is to say that those remaining 100 to 300 people a year who are dying is acceptable," Transportation Alternatives Spokesman Michael Murphy said. "It's absolutely not."

On average, 317 New Yorkers are killed in traffic every year, according to the report. In addition, New Yorkers suffered 34,000 life-altering injuries over the past nine years, or 3,774 a year

The report says most of those killed in accidents are pedestrians, and the majority of deaths are caused by speeding cars on wide roadways. Another study, by the Tri-State Transportation Campaign, shows senior citizens are most at risk.

DOT spokesman Seth Solomonow told WNYC that the city has already launched anti-speeding campaigns (like these scary skeleton speeding signs), added countdown signals to hundreds of intersections and re-engineered streets to make them safer for children and seniors.

The report applauds recent efforts by the Department of Transportation to add street calming measures like curb extensions, pedestrian islands and bike lanes -- all practices the report claims have been proven by the World Health organization, World Bank and the European Conference of Ministers of Transport to reduce traffic fatalities.

But many of New York's elected officials think such actions slow vehicular traffic, and some critics claim pedestrian islands can block emergency vehicles. Bike lanes have proven the most controversial, with advocates claiming they make city cycling safer, and opponents saying bike lanes are barely-used eyesores.

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Filed by Christopher Mathias  |