In June 2016, the five-year New York State Pedestrian Safety Action Plan was initiated and provided $110 million to enhance safety for pedestrians through infrastructure upgrades, public education efforts and enforcement across Upstate and Long Island.
The plan was a multi-agency initiative and was implemented cooperatively by the New York State Department of Transportation focusing on engineering improvements, the State Department of Health conducting public education and awareness campaigns, and the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee coordinating increased law enforcement.
The plan targeted improvements in communities outside of New York City, since the city has an established pedestrian safety program that receives millions in federal funding.
Between 2016 and 2021, more than 4000 Department of Transportation construction projects included enhancements to roadways and intersections that would boost pedestrian safety and minimize the potential for crashes.
Construction projects included various upgrades to crosswalks, signalized intersections, and signage. Many of the projects included:
- Retiming traffic signals by extending crossing times
- Adding crosswalks or upgrading existing crosswalks for higher visibility
- Restricting parking near an intersection to improve pedestrian visibility
- Installing and upgrading pedestrian signals with countdown timers
- Installing new signs, such as No Turn On Red or Turning Vehicle Yield to Pedestrians
- Adding pavement markings in advance of crosswalks
- Adding pedestrian refuge islands and curb extensions, which shorten crosswalk distances
Additionally, the multi-agency marketing plan was implemented to educate the public on safety measures both drivers and pedestrians can take to prevent crashes. This included the See and Be Seen public service announcement, which was aired on the radio, television and social media.
The Pedestrian Safety Action Plan paid particular attention to more than 20 areas, or focus communities, to advance pedestrian safety through public education, police officer training, enforcement of existing pedestrian safety laws, and funding for safety enhancement projects through a competitive grant solicitation.
The five-year Pedestrian Safety Action Plan concluded in 2021, but the New York State Department of Transportation, the State Department of Health, and the Governor's Traffic Safety Committee continue to focus many efforts on pedestrian safety through the Three Es: engineering, education, and enforcement.