Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Walking around Riverdale is safe

And not just because of the low crime numbers.

From 1995 to 2009, there were 8,604 motor-vehicle crashes involving pedestrians in the 42 blocks that make up Manhattan Community District 5. In Bronx District 8 (Riverdale, Fieldston, Marble Hill, Van Cortlandt Village, Kingsbridge) during the same period, only 788 crashes occurred; less than 10 percent of Manhattan's District 5, which is Midtown.

The data comes from Transportation Alternatives new interactive map, CrashStat.

The only area that is considered safer than Riverdale is the South Shore of Staten Island (Community District 3) with 653 crashes.
The city's Department of Transportation disputes these findings, however (even the good ones). A spokesman points out to Crains New York that reporting the 15-year neighborhood-by-neighborhood totals misses an important point—the decline in injuries and fatalities over the period:
"Safety has actually increased and nowhere is this more evident than in places like Manhattan Community District 5, where fatalities and serious injuries were down 54% from 1995 to 2009; and in Brooklyn Community District 14, where fatalities and injuries down 65% from 1995 to 2009."
Citywide, pedestrian traffic fatalities have dropped 37% from 1995 to 2009.

Transportation Alternatives has called for stricter enforcement of traffic laws by the New York City Police Department, saying that the department should pursue harsher punishments, deploy more traffic cops and more rigorously enforce the 30 mph speed limit.

Jump below for the rest of the story.

"To bring the number of people injured and killed in traffic down to zero, we need the NYPD to institute a zero tolerance crackdown on unsafe driving," said Paul Steely White, Executive Director of Transportation Alternatives. "For too long, dangerous and lethal drivers have gotten off with minimal or, astonishingly, no charges at all. The NYPD needs to put pedestrians first and step up the enforcement of traffic laws. The police must send a strong message: enough is enough, stop the violence on our roads."

Judging by what I've heard from Riverdale's 50th Precinct, I wouldn't expect more cops targeting speeders. While the 50th has increased the amount of officers who can give speeding tickets (There was only one officer qualified at the start of the year; now there are at least four.), it hasn't been a priority. Probably because of the safe streets?

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