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WHATResearch and resulting recommendations for making streets safer for seniors to walk in and to use as a main form of transportation. Safe Routes for Seniors.
WHYTo provide safe streets for walking as an alternate form of transportation for seniors. To encourage seniors to walk more by improving their pedestrian environment and in the process improve cardiovascular health.
WHERENew York State Department of Health's Healthy Heart Program.
New York, USA.

Program Description

"Designing streets specifically for seniors takes the regulations of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) one step further to accommodate sensory changes that occur as people age"

" …the first program of its kind to address the unique needs of elderly pedestrians and consider the role of street design in maintaining good cardiovascular health in old age."

Information was gathered from site visits, interviews, workshops, and surveys with hundreds of seniors citizens. It was clear that many changes were required to make New York streets not only safer for seniors but to provide a more comfortable, welcoming environment.

Design recommendations to make streets safer for seniors include:

  • Streets should be as flat as possible and a smooth transition from the curb to the street.
  • Large streets should have wide median refuge areas with benches.
  • All bus stops near senior centers should have shelters and benches
  • Drivers should be prohibited from turning during the first 10 seconds of a traffic signal phase to give seniors extra time to get onto the curb and begin a safe crossing
  • Drivers should be required to stop 15 feet before a junction to further protect elderly pedestrians, where appropriate, the crosswalks should be built up or "raised" to line up with the curb.
  • On busy commercial streets and bus routes curbs should be extended into the crosswalk to create better sightlines for pedestrians and drivers.
  • On streets where there is more space than is needed to move traffic, the street should be put on a "road diet" where lanes or parts of lanes are reclaimed for wider sidewalks, planted medians and/or bicycle lanes.

Transportation Alternatives is an advocacy organization committed to reclaiming New York City’s streets for people by ensuring that every New Yorker has safe space to walk and bike and access to public transportation.




Find out more about the “Safe Routes for Seniors” Program

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