Older pedestrians at higher risk in Brooklyn, says study

Yield for pedestrians, especially senior citizens of Brooklyn. Downstate New York pedestrians 60 years and older are at a “disproportionately” higher risk of being killed in collisions with vehicles while walking, according to a new study released by the Tri-State Transportation Campaign on Wednesday, August 13.The full report, Older Pedestrians at Risk: A Ten Year Survey and Look Ahead Two hundred and two of those were in Brooklyn alone, which ranked third overall (out of 12 Downstate areas) in average fatality rate for people 60 and older, and accounted for the largest number of fatalities of individuals over 60 of those 916. “In 10 years, the share of downstate New York residents 60 and older increased from 16.6 percent of the population to 18.8 percent— 2.2 percentage points,” said Renata Silberblatt, Tri-State Transportation Campaign’s senior analyst. “As our population ages, it is imperative for municipalities and state officials to design communities with the needs of active older residents in mind.”Though comprising only 17.5 percent of the downstate population, senior citizens accounted for 38 percent of the pedestrian fatalities during the 10-year period, according to the study.Additionally, the pedestrian fatality rate for downstate New York residents 60 and older is three times higher than that of residents under 60. For residents 75 and older, the pedestrian fatality rate is more than four times that of those under 60.“Older New Yorkers worry about safety when they walk in their neighborhoods and communities, and for good reason, as Tri-State’s report shows,” said Beth Finkel, state director for AARP in New York, hopeful that the study will illustrate the importance of prioritizing safe pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure in New York.Finkel isn’t the only one hopeful for change.Since releasing the study, the campaign has made a number of suggestions to the New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) including an expansion of the Safe Seniors Program statewide, a set of goals specific to seniors in the upcoming five-year-plan, better tracking and a state-wide Vision Zero initiative, among others.“Simple roadway improvements – clearly marked crosswalks, longer crossing signals and wider pedestrian islands – make walking safer and easier for older residents and younger residents alike,” stressed Veronica Vanterpool, executive director of the Tri-State Transportation Campaign.The full report can be found atwww.tstc.org.

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