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Group Releases List Of Tri-State’s Most Dangerous Roads For Walking

Hempstead Turnpike - Feb. 26, 2013 (credit: Mike Xirinachs / WCBS 880)

Hempstead Turnpike – Feb. 26, 2013 (credit: Mike Xirinachs / WCBS 880)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) – A transportation group has released its list of the Tri-State area’s most dangerous roads for walking.

The Tri-State Transportation Campaign found that 1,200 pedestrians were killed on roads in Conn., New Jersey and downstate New York between 2009 and 2011.

In New York, the top three most dangerous roads for pedestrians are the Hempstead Turnpike near Fulton Avenue in Nassau County, all of Broadway in Manhattan and the Jericho Turnpike near Middle Country Road in Suffolk County.

Hempstead Turnpike, also known as Route 24, has the dubious distinction of being named the most dangerous road in the Tri-State Area for walking five years running.

Fourteen fatalities of pedestrians were reported on Hempstead Turnpike from 2009 to 2011.

The study praised New York officials for making the Hempstead Turnpike safer by putting in new crosswalks and other pedestrian safety measures.

“We have seen again and again that relatively low-cost improvements such as the improvements being done to Hempstead Turnpike can save lives,” said Veronica Vanterpool, Tri-State Transportation Campaign’s executive director.

In addition to new crosswalks, traffic signals and raised islands are among the safety features being added to the Hempstead Turnpike.

John Mahoney, a resident along the roadway, said these features are necessary, but some common sense would help as well.

“Pedestrians, you see them, they’re walking, they’re texting, they’re thinking about everything but crossing the street,” he told WCBS 880 Long Island Bureau Chief Mike Xirinachs.

One man who crosses it daily says it’s like a game of chicken.

“It’s safer to cross the San Diego Freeway than Hempstead Turnpike in Levittown,” one Nassau resident said.

There were 12 pedestrian fatalities on Broadway in Manhattan, making it the second most dangerous road on the list.

“It concerns me tremendously. I have two teenage daughters who cross the street by themselves and that’s very frightening,” Upper West Side resident Illissa Sternlicht told CBS 2’s Elise Finch.

Pedestrian plazas, lane closures and other so-called traffic calming measures have actually made southern parts of Broadway safer. As a result. all but one of the most recent fatalities on Broadway occured north of 96th street.

“This area specifically…used to have subway stations on each side of Broadway so you didn’t have to cross the street,” Upper West Side resident Michael Wechsler said. “So there’s no perfect solution, this was built for wheelchair access.”

Overall, pedestrian fatalities are down in New York and Connecticut but up slightly in New Jersey. The roads ranked five through ten on the “most dangerous roads” list are all in the Garden State, including Route 1 in Middlesex.

In New Jersey, Route 130 in Burlington County, the Blackhorse Pike in Atlantic County and Route 1 in Middlesex County were the most deadly roads for pedestrians.

Each had nine fatalities during the three-year time period.

The study said the Garden State has also stepped up efforts to make roads safer but is pushing for safety improvements and stiffer penalties for careless drivers who kill or injure pedestrians and bicyclists.

In Conn., the group said the state’s deadliest road for pedestrians was Route 1, where six people were killed between 2009 and 2011, followed by Route 66 and US-44.

“Route 1 has been Connecticut’s most deadly road for pedestrians since the Campaign’s first Most Dangerous Roads for Walking report in 2008,” said Steven Higashide, senior planner with the Campaign.

To see the full study, visit www.tstc.org.

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