Investigation: New York City’s Streets Are Especially Dangerous Near Schools

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A new investigation by Streetsblog found that the most dangerous streets in the city are those that are surrounding New York City public schools, with more street violence, crashes and injuries in those areas.

An expansive and illuminating new investigation by Streetsblog found that streets surrounding New York City public schools are disproportionately dangerous compared to other streets in the city. The massive analysis is well worth reading on its own, but some highlights are recapped below.

To conduct its analysis, Streetsblog gathered data on “nearly one million crashes” in the city between July 2015 and November 2021, using this data to construct a database of collisions within 250 feet of “city-run public schools.” This database made clear that these streets “are more dangerous on average than other city streets,” with “57 percent more crashes and 25 percent more injuries per mile” between 8am and 9am on school days. On days when schools are not in session, the data showed, “this disparity largely disappears.”

This danger, it turns out, is especially great on streets surrounding schools “where most students are poor or children of color,” with car-related injuries rising 43% higher outside schools “where a majority of students were brown or Black” during the 2019 academic year. Even zooming out, however, the data shows that streets surrounding public schools are stricken with violence, with “a crash every 29 minutes and an injury every two hours” when schools are in session, especially the rushes when students are arriving or departing: “At those times,” Streetsblog found, “there is a crash every 17 minutes and an injury every 72 minutes.” 

Why are the streets surrounding New York City schools so dangerous? According to the Streetsblog report, city officials have attributed the danger to the “modest” efforts the city has made to redesign those streets, while union leaders have pointed to understaffing of school crossing guards. “The Department of Transportation and other city agencies remain absolutely impotent at addressing just basic transportation issues in our community,” the co-chair of the transportation committee of the East New York community board told Streetsblog. 

More information on the unique dangers on the streets surrounding New York City’s public schools is available via Streetsblog’s sweeping new investigation.

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