Localize.city Uncovers the Most Perilous Walks to New York City Schools

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April 24, 2018

A new report from Localize.city reveals the 43 schools where students face the highest risk of being hit by a car within 500-feet of their school

Localize.city found that intersections near these schools had nearly 4x higher rate of crashes than citywide average

An elementary school student walking to Jamaica’s P.S. 182 was hit by a car earlier this year. A parent crossing a different intersection near the school was struck the same month, according to P.S. 182’s parent coordinator, Gloria Carhill.

Even before these incidents, this school was on Localize.city’s radar for its proximity to dangerous intersections. 

Localize.city, a new AI-powered website, monitors billions of data points in real-time, to help New Yorkers find their next home. Localize.city provides the most complete understanding of what life will be like at every address in New York City, from current and future construction to livability, community and safety.

This report builds upon Localize.city‘s machine-learning technology, which evaluated street safety at every New York City intersection. To find out if you live near dangerous intersections, or if your child attends school near one, search your address: www.localize.city. Once there, you can sign up to receive updates on a variety of topics tailored to your address.

Uncovering Schools Near the Most Dangerous Intersections

Explore the schools and dangerous intersections uncovered by Localize.city:

Localize.city data-scientist Israel Schwartz identified 43 schools in 33 buildings that are within 500 feet of the city’s most dangerous intersections for pedestrians and cyclists. Jamaica’s P.S. 182 is one them. “To get to class, thousands of children cross the city’s most perilous intersections,” Israel says. “Getting to school should not be such a dangerous assignment.”

The school is steps away from one of Queens’ diciest intersections: Hillside Avenue and Parsons Boulevard. Over the past five years, 23 crashes injured pedestrians and cyclists there, making it the borough’s second most dangerous intersection near a school.

Crashes Nearly 4x Higher in Vicinity of Schools with at Least One Dangerous Intersection

P.S. 182’s nearby intersection of Hillside and Parsons, however, was not where the student and parent were hit in January. Those crashes occurred at intersections about a block away. Localize.city found that when there is one extremely dangerous intersection, there tend to be others in the immediate vicinity.  

The accident hot spots around the schools identified by Localize.city saw an average of 42 crashes that injured or killed pedestrians or cyclists over the past five years. That compared to a citywide average of 12 crashes in the same time frame.

Schools Near the Five Most Dangerous Intersections

1. Harvest Collegiate, a small high school near Union Square
Dangerous intersections within 500 feet: Sixth Avenue and West 14th Street, Fifth Avenue and West 14th Street
Number of pedestrians and cyclists injured over 5 years: 82 combined for both intersections

2. The Manhattan Village Academy, a small Chelsea high school
Dangerous intersection within 500 feet: Sixth Avenue and West 22nd Street
Number of pedestrians and cyclists injured over 5 years: 52

3. P.S 33, a neighborhood school in Fordham
Dangerous intersection within 500 feet: Jerome Avenue and West Fordham Road
Number of pedestrians and cyclists injured over 5 years: 44

4. Clinton School for Writers & Artists, a small middle and high school, which shares its space temporarily with M.S. 297, near Union Square
Dangerous intersection within 500 feet: Fifth Avenue and West 14th Street
Number of pedestrians and cyclists injured over 5 years: 40

5. City Polytechnic High School of Engineering, Architecture & Technology and George Westinghouse Career and Technical Education, both career and technical high schools that share space with I.S. 8, the middle school for Brooklyn Heights’ P.S. 8, in Downtown Brooklyn
Dangerous intersection within 500 feet: Jay and Tillary streets
Number of pedestrians and cyclists injured over 5 years: 39

Why Localize.city Focuses on Street Safety Near Schools

Traffic crashes were the leading cause of death for children ages 1 to 12 between 2010 and 2014. In 80 percent of those cases the child was a pedestrian, according to a New York City Health Department report.

Even When Safety Upgrades Are Made, Concerns Remain

The City’s Department of Transportation (DOT) is improving street safety around schools through Vision Zero, which is the de Blasio administration’s campaign created in 2014 to eliminate traffic fatalities and serious injuries. Upgrades include installing “slow zones” around schools as well as new signals and street signs.

Still, problems persist around many schools. Changes had already been made near the Jamaica elementary school about a year before drivers hit the student and parent. The DOT implemented some safety upgrades, including hardened centerlines for the crosswalk at Hillside and Parsons. Crossing guards keep watch over two intersections around the school.

Another school on Localize.city’s radar for being close to dangerous streets: a Fordham middle school building shared by the East Fordham Academy for the Arts and the Academy for Personal Leadership and Excellence.

A student rushing to class there around 8 a.m. a recent February morning was hit and taken to a nearby hospital, according to FDNY and school officials. The DOT had made safety upgrades around the building at East 184th Street in 2016. Curb extensions were added to sidewalks about a block away. A raised sidewalk was added nearby, as well, according to DOT officials. It’s already a 20-mile-per-hour School Slow Zone.

Stay informed on street safety issues near you.

New York saw its fewest traffic fatalities in 2017, driven largely by a 32 percent drop in pedestrian fatalities, according to city officials. But as the Localize.city analysis reveals, pedestrian and cyclist injuries are too common near many schools, especially around the 43 highlighted here.

Do you live near a dangerous intersection? Are upgrades coming to the streets near your home? Check your address at Localize.city

 

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Methodology

Localize.city analyzed school buildings across the city and then created an index, which takes into account the following: (1) the number of accidents that occur near intersections and involve pedestrians or cyclists, (2) the intersection type by borough.

Breaking it down by intersection type allowed the analysis to include the most dangerous intersections for one-, two- and three-plus lanes in each borough and therefore uncovered some of neighborhood hot spots on quiet, local streets.

To devise the most dangerous intersections by one-, two- and three-lanes by borough, Localize.city filtered the locations by looking at junctions where the number of crashes involving pedestrians or cyclists, using NYPD motor vehicle collisions data, were above the 99.5 percentile in their cells between 2013 to 2017, and between 2015 to 2017.

There was threshold of at least one accident involving pedestrian or cyclist injured or killed per year, and there must have been at least two crashes injuring a pedestrian or cyclist at the intersection in 2017. (Staten Island’s one-lane streets did not meet the threshold, and hence, were not included for that street type.)

The analysis assembled the intersections based upon the NYC LION dataset (single-line street base dataset), filtering lines referring to roadways and identifying intersections by lines with two nodes on the edges that were common with other lines. Nodes that were within a 15-foot radius of one another were assembled into one node. The intersections were grouped into cells based on borough and number of lanes (one-, two- and at least three-lane roads).  The three- or more lane roads were tagged as major roads in the LION dataset as were some 2-lane roads. Those two-lane roads identified as such were included in this analysis in the grouping with at least three-lanes. When the number of lanes differed between intersecting roads, the highest number of lanes was chosen.

Accidents occurring within a 30-foot radius of an intersection are considered as accidents occurring at the intersection.

Finally, the analysis looked for dangerous intersections located within 500-foot radius of schools across NYC, for tagging schools as “schools near dangerous intersections.”

 

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