New Trail Safety Tool

In an ongoing effort to promote and enhance multi-use trails across New York, Parks & Trails New York is developing a Road and Trail Intersection Level of Safety Rating System. PTNY is developing the tool with the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee to objectively assign a level of safety rating to all road and trail intersections. Intersections typically represent a majority of safety complaints related to multi-use trails and can be perceived as barriers to safe and enjoyable trail use. The safety rating system uses design and maintenance best practices to identify and help communities prioritize where improvements to trail and road intersections should occur.

PTNY presented a draft Road and Trail Intersection Level of Safety Rating System to the New York State Association of Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) Bicycle and Pedestrian working group during the Walk-Bike New York Symposium last month. The audience of bicycle and pedestrian planners from the New York State Department of Transportation statewide and regional offices and the state’s 14 MPOs got a sneak peak of the new tool.

PTNY will be piloting the level of safety rating system at road and trail intersections across New York State throughout the spring. During the summer and early fall, PTNY will release its final toolkit to a statewide audience of transportation professionals and trail advocates. PTNY will encourage the use of the final tool as a complementary effort to New York State’s initiatives to address bicycle and pedestrian safety and trail development through the $110 million Pedestrian Safety Action Plan and $200 million Empire State Trail.

With the number of trail users increasing, it is imperative that safety issues are addressed in a proactive and meaningful way. Additionally, the health benefits associated with walking and biking should not be reduced due to unaccommodating infrastructure. PTNY’s Road and Trail Intersection Level of Safety Rating System is another tool planners and advocates can use to create healthy and sustainable communities across New York State.