Thursday, May 27, 2010

Five County Report Highlights Most Dangerous Albany County Intersections for Pedestrians and Bicyclists

One of my assignments today was to cover a news conference at the convergence of Washington Central & Lark in downtown Albany. The finished story is here... As I continue to experiment with creating and editing videos on my Fly Ying F007 I practiced a little by recording the presser. The first speaker is rather soft-spoken and difficult to hear, but if you fast forward to about 5:11 in, the sound improves somewhat. The direct URL of the youtube video is here.



Initially the video was 1:15 in excess of youtube's 10-minute time limit. I trimmed it down with Microsoft Movie Maker, taking a short snippet of footage off the beginning and then rolling back the edit from the end of the clip to just under 10 minutes. Needless to say my video work NEEDS work, but that's okay - we live, we learn!

If conditions are just right, the Fly Ying in video mode captures excellent audio. The F007 also has an audio recorder, which creates files that can be sent via e-mail. I tried to do that last fall during election night coverage, but there was some sort of problem with the t-mobile server (or as is many times the case, there's some bizaare adjustment or alternate means of sending the file that I haven't yet discovered).

A five-county report released today by AARP demonstrates that older New Yorkers are disproportionately represented in bicycle and pedestrian fatality statistics. In Albany County alone, 10 people were killed while walking or bicycling and another 883 people were injured between 2006 and 2008. People over the age of 60 are disproportionately represented in the fatality statistics, comprising 30% of bicyclist and pedestrian deaths although they make up only 18.5% 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.”

"Cancer risk can be reduced just by taking a brisk walk around the block a few times each day," said Sherry Tomasky, Advocacy Director with the American Cancer Society. "But people shouldn't have to worry that by trying to improve their health that they are actually putting their lives in peril by walking through dangerous intersections. Incorporating regular exercising into our daily routines is important to prevent cancer and so many other health issues. Creating and maintaining infrastructures where people exercise safely, and for free, is key. This is why the American Cancer Society is strongly supporting the Complete Streets legislation."

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.
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