BUFFALO, NY (WKBW) -- Officials held a press conference Thursday morning at the intersection of Abbott Road and Cazenovia Street in Buffalo to highlight Erie County's most dangerous intersections.
The Abbot and Cazenovia Street intersection is Erie County's most dangerous crossing for pedestrians and bicyclists.
A five country report reveals that in Erie County alone, 45 people were killed while walking or bicycling and another 2,403 people were injured between 2006 and 2008.
The report comes as new legislation has been introduced in the New York State Legislature that would amend the current transportation law to recognize that pedestrian and bicycle travel and integral to New York's transportation system.
The full release from the AARP is below:
A five-county report released today by AARP demonstrates that older New Yorkers are disproportionately represented in bicycle and pedestrian fatality statistics. In Erie County alone, 45 people were killed while walking or bicycling and another 2,403 people were injured between 2006 and 2008. People over the age of 60 are disproportionately represented in the fatality statistics, comprising 26.7% of bicyclist and pedestrian deaths although they make up only 20.6% of the county’s population. A 2007 report revealed similar disparities in the New York City metropolitan area.
“By 2025, people age 65+ will comprise nearly 20 percent of the population,” said Lois Aronstein, AARP New York State Director. “Yet two-thirds of transportation planners and engineers say they have yet to begin addressing older people in their street planning. This report further illustrates the need for safer roadways for pedestrians and bicyclists through Complete Streets legislation.”
"This comprehensive report assembled by AARP clearly indicates that we in government need to do more to ensure the safety and protection of those who use our sidewalks and bicycle paths,” stated Senator William Stachowski. “While we often focus on the roads and bridges that the motoring public uses on a daily basis, it is apparent that we will need to direct future efforts at the maintenance of sidewalks, crossings and bike paths; while asking our engineers and urban planners to keep in mind the needs of those who choose not to use a car to get around. Senator Dilan's legislation has been reported out of the Senate Transportation Committee and I look forward to supporting it when it reaches the Senate floor for a vote.”
"Green Options Buffalo strongly supports the adoption of statewide legislation so that all of New York State can reap the quality of life benefits that providing healthy, environmentally sustainable and community friendly transportation options will have for us all," stated Justin Booth, Director of Green Options Buffalo.
"Persons of any age can reduce their risk of cancer just by taking a brisk walk around the block a few times each day," said Hillary Clarke, Regional Advocacy Director for the American Cancer Society. "But no one should have to worry about walking through dangerous intersections as they try to improve their health. Incorporating regular exercise into our daily routines is a key cancer fighting strategy, but it requires creating and maintaining infrastructures where people can exercise safely and free of charge. The American Cancer Society applauds the work of AARP to raise awareness of these issues and strongly supports Complete Streets legislation pending in the New York State Legislature."
The report, which covers Albany, Broome, Erie, Monroe, and Onondaga counties, outlines a series of steps that can be taken to reduce pedestrian fatalities and injuries on New York’s roadways:
· Pass “Complete Streets” legislation (S.5711-Dilan/A.8587-Gantt) current pending in Albany. Complete Streets would create an approach to road design that balances the needs of people of all ages including pedestrians, bicyclists, people with disabilities, automobiles, and public transportation users.
· Allocate resources to enhance and expand the New York State Department of Transportation’s Safe Seniors Program. The program has been successful but is limited in scope due to lack of sufficient resources.
· Establish a public/private task force to develop future policy recommendations to the Governor and Legislature on how New York can develop its communities and roadways to make New York State more livable now and in the future. The task force would include key state agencies, developers, aging and pedestrian advocates, as well as municipal officials.
AARP is strongly advocating for the passage of Complete Streets legislation by the end of the legislative session in June.