New York, not surprisingly, is leading the way in another design facet—urban design that promotes safety. Several organizations, including the John Hopkins Center for Injury Research and Policy, the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, the New York City Department of Transportation, and many others formed a partnership and published a collection of guidelines. The report, titled “Active Design Supplement: Promoting Safety,” is a thorough study focused on urban design strategies that improve safety.
The report pulls from existing research and best practices, illustrating design guidelines for increasing safety while promoting a healthy lifestyle and a high livability. Eighteen urban scale and nine building scale strategies were pinpointed.
Planning practices included highlight how the design of streets, public spaces, and neighborhoods can alleviate the risk of injury and decrease the number of transportation-related injuries and deaths. Additionally, these practices increase the use of active transportation.
A few examples published in the report include: Complete Streets, street calming, and pedestrian refuge islands.
Complete Streets provide safe, convenient, and accessibility for all users. Generally, Complete Streets design elements are applied as new construction or as retrofits to an existing street. While there is no “one-size-fits all” approach, an evaluation of Complete Streets showed that, “Roads with a refuge island, signalized intersections, curbs and sidewalks can reduce vehicle speed and increase pedestrian safety.”
|Columbus Circle in NYC after the implementation of the Green Light for Midtown project, credit: NYC DOT|
Street calming improves the quality of the experience for pedestrians and bicyclists by slowing vehicle speeds and/or reducing vehicle traffic. Studies reveal that speed humps, road narrowing, and four-way stop intersections have been noted to decrease road traffic crashes, especially pedestrian and bicycle collisions.
|Street calming feature in Claremont section of Bronx using speed humps and gateway neckdowns, credit: NYC DOT|
Pedestrian refuge islands are best instituted in the center of the roadway, separating opposing lanes of traffic. While this strategy is not suitable for all roadways, it is a proven strategy to improve pedestrian safety for wide streets and aging pedestrians.
|Pedestrian refuge island on Monroe Street in Chicago, credit: Steven Vance|
Thank you to Ben Chaney for editing this post.
Pollack, Keshia M., PhD, MPH, Maryanne M. Bailey, MPH, CPH, Andrea C. Gielen, ScD, ScM, and M. Elaine Auld, MPH, MCHES. Active Design Supplement: Promoting Safety. Rep. Ed. Karen K. Lee, MD, MHSc, FRCPC and Sarah Wolf, MPH, RD. 2012. Web. 13 Apr. 2013.
NYC Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik Khan-http://www.architizer.com/en_us/blog/dyn/82857/awesome-woman-alert-transportation-commissioner-janette-sadik-khan-nyc/#.UWsKMo5DKRM
First NYC 20 mph Zone to Slow Cars- http://www.streetsblog.org/2011/06/29/first-nyc-20-mph-zone-to-slow-cars-with-gateway-neckdowns-speed-humps/