Photo: Flickr/Johan Larsson
A sobering new report by New York City-based Transportation Alternatives shows how disproportionately children in lower-income neighborhoods are likely to be hit by cars.In “Child Crashes: An Unequal Burden,” the nonprofit uses stats from CrashStat.org to analyse the frequency of crashes between motorists, cyclists and pedestrians in Manhattan.
What they found was an undeniable concentration of accidents near public housing projects along the city’s poorest East side communities.
For example, in East Harlem, a child is more than three times likely to be hit by a car than in the wealthier Upper East Side neighbourhood just below it.
And the deadliest of all intersections is in the heart of Harlem, at East 125th street and Lexington Avenue.
“I am very concerned about the findings illustrated by this map,” said City Council Member Melissa Mark-Viverito. “My district contains the greatest concentration of public housing in the city and is located in an area of Manhattan where traffic can be quite heavy. That means the children of my district are at risk.”
The study also highlights the prevalence of car crashes in low-income areas in Chinatown, where kids are twice as likely to be the victim.
Here are three things the organisation says might be behind the trend:
– Disproportionate driver speeding on arterial streets next to public housing
– Increased mid-block crossing behaviour due to superblock layout of developments
– Greater density of children in public housing developments
Transalt and city representatives are petitioning the New York Police Department to ramp up efforts to crack down on reckless driving and build more bike lanes in lower-income districts.
In his penultimate State of the City address in mid-January, NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg cited efforts to reduce speeding in the city with a 30 mph speeding limit–a limit that nearly 40 per cent of drivers disobey, according to Transalt.
In the summer, the city implemented the first “slow zone” in the Bronx borough, which has a 20 mph speeding limit, and plans to replace signs in all five NYC boroughs that tell drivers how fast they’re going.
The map below offers a snapshot of the biggest danger zones.