To the Editor
As the shortest day of the year approaches, we are reminded of the importance of safe and well-designed streets and crosswalks – especially for older adults.
While New Yorkers 65 and above make up 13% of the state’s population, seniors accounted for one third of pedestrian fatalities from 2003-2010. Older pedestrians died at a rate of 4.9 per 100,000 New York residents, compared to 1.5 for younger residents, making our state the third most dangerous for senior pedestrians in the country. And in Manhattan, pedestrians accounted for two of every three traffic fatalities from 2003 to 2012, compared to less than one in eight nationally.
It’s no surprise that over half of New York City voters 50 and older surveyed by AARP called traffic lights timed too fast for safe crossing a problem.
Senator Charles Schumer and Representative Jerry Nadler can help. As members of a conference committee reconciling the House and Senate versions of the federal transportation bill, they should ensure that the strong pedestrian safety measures included in the Senate transportation bill remain in the final conference report with the House.
Let’s remember that crossing the street shouldn’t mean crossing your fingers.
Beth Finkel, AARP New York State Director