Raised crosswalks have been shown to make streets safer, but New York City has used the design in only 17 of its roughly 40,000 intersections. Following a record 273 traffic deaths in 2021, including 125 pedestrians, and another 37 deaths in the first two months of this year, Mayor Eric Adams announced plans to raise hundreds of crosswalks across the city, the New York Times reports. The raised design, which will be rolled out by 100 crosswalks per year, slows down oncoming traffic like a speed bump would.
As part of the initiative, officials announced stricter police enforcement on the road. “We are taking everything we have done to a higher level,” said Ydanis Rodriguez, the city’s transportation commissioner. “We are declaring intersections are sacred spaces and should be protected.” Experts say the pandemic is responsible for the increased risk on New York streets. Like many other cities across the U.S., lax traffic law enforcement, emptier roads, more alcohol abuse, and greater anxiety contributed to more dangerous post-lockdown roads. Since intersections are where half of all pedestrian fatalities occur, crosswalks will be central in the initiative. So far, officials confirmed the location of four raised crosswalks.