Today’s news:

Queens relatively safe for older pedestrians

Although 39 elderly Queens pedestrians were killed in a recent three−year period, the borough was statistically safer than Manhattan, Brooklyn, Staten Island and other several other nearby counties, according to a new survey.

In numbers of elderly pedestrians killed in 2005 through 2007, Brooklyn led with 57 and Manhattan had 50, with Queens and Nassau County trailing at 39 each. They were followed by Suffolk County at 21, the Bronx at 18, Staten Island at 11 and Westchester County at eight.

The Tri−State Transportation Campaign, which issued the report “Older Pedestrians at Risk,” said the fatality rates of the elderly per 100,000 people was 8.27 for Manhattan and 6.65 for Nassau County in contrast with 4.37 for Queens.

At 4.37, the pedestrian fatality rate for Queens residents aged 65 and older was five times that of residents younger than 65. For those aged 75 years and older, the fatality rate of 4.99 was 5.7 times that of their younger neighbors.

Why are Manhattan and Nassau so much worse for old pedestrians?

“A leading factor may be that in the case of Manhattan, [it] may be that vastly more people of all ages walk almost everywhere they go,” said Michelle Ernest, analyst of the Tri−State Transportation Campaign. “Most of the Manhattan deaths of pedestrians appear to take place at street intersections, not as [a] result of jaywalking.”

“As for Nassau County, it is basically a suburban environment, with streets and boulevards designed with motor vehicles, not for people walking, in mind,” she said.

“As for Brooklyn, the same situation as in Manhattan may apply, but it is not certain,” Ernest said, adding that Brooklyn is the most populous of any borough and that would seem to be a large factor in its high number of fatalities.

The Tri−State Transportation Campaign reported in October that Hempstead Turnpike in Nassau County was the most deadly roadway in the tri−state area for pedestrians of all ages. Third Avenue in Manhattan was No. 3.

The most dangerous place in Queens for people on foot was Woodhaven Boulevard followed by Queens Boulevard.

“Five years of working through our Safe Routes for Seniors program has shown us that the ability to walk safely in the city is paramount to seniors’ independence and health,” said Paul Steely White, executive director of Transportation Alternatives.

Michael Benediktsson, a Princeton University doctoral candidate in sociology, and Ernest produced the analysis. They used recently released data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Fatality Analysis Reporting System and the U.S. Census Bureau.

Reach contributing writer Philip Newman by e−mail at news@timesledger.com or by phone at 718−229−0300, Ext. 136.

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