New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan today announced that DOT Street Safety Managers (SSM) are assigned to key bike and pedestrian corridors and bridge paths in Manhattan to help enhance safety among pedestrians, cyclists and motorists, further enhancing street safety as bike ridership grows, as DOT starts enforcement of commercial cycling laws and in advance of the 6,000-bike launch of the Citi Bike system. The SSMs will monitor locations with dense pedestrian and cyclist activity to reinforce existing traffic rules, advising bike riders to ride in the direction of traffic, yield to pedestrians and stop at traffic signals; instructing pedestrians to await traffic signals on the curb and not stand in bike paths; and discouraging cars from parking illegally in bike lanes. Shifts of four SSMs will be assigned to different locations in Manhattan weekdays during the morning and afternoon rush hours from April through October.
“Our streets have never been safer and we’re educating everyone on how to use them safely, and enforcing against those who don’t,” said Commissioner Sadik-Khan. “With more people out in the warm weather we’re committed to doing even more to get out the message that safety is the rule of the road.”
SSMs are current DOT employees who have been trained and will be assigned to these duties for the peak cycling season, saving the costs associated with contracting out similar services from a private vendor. SSMs don reflective gear and guide cyclists using a hand-held double-sided sign saying “STOP/Wrong Way.” On bridge paths, SSMs will reinforce existing separations of pedestrian and cyclist paths by directing users to the appropriate entrance and discouraging wrong-way entrances and exits.
The Street Safety Manager program is just the latest of DOT’s efforts to enhance and promote safety across the five boroughs. The last five years have recorded the fewest traffic fatalities in city history, and the risk of serious injury for bike riders has dropped nearly 75% over the last decade. Biking is the city’s fastest growing transportation option, with counts on key commuter routes growing 58% since 2008.
Last year, DOT launched the nation’s largest comprehensive commercial cycling education and safety campaign in an effort to make the roads safer for all users. DOT hosted 33 forums citywide, which nearly 3,500 businesses and commercial cyclists attended, and its inspectors conducted door-to-door outreach to more than 4,000 businesses to explain the safety requirements for businesses to provide information and equipment to delivery personnel.