New York is typically referred to as a walking city, with 12,750 miles of sidewalks. More than 10% of New Yorkers walk to and from work every day; the national average is 2.9%.  In most cities across the US, walking to work is primarily done by lower income individuals, and disproportionately by men. In New York City, the population that walks is spread evenly across income as well as gender:

Alliance for Biking and Walking, 2012

Alliance for Biking and Walking, 2012


NYC DOT has transformed 54 street spaces into pedestrian plazas, comprising about 22 acres of public space.

Last year, 148 pedestrians were killed in traffic-related incidents. Pedestrians comprise 53.9% of all traffic fatalities, the highest in the nation.  Manhattan has four times as many pedestrians killed or severely injured per mile of street compared to the other four boroughs.

Streets, sidewalks, bus shelters and public plazas are maintained by NYC Department of Transportation. The agency has programs to promote safer and more pleasant sidewalks and streets that include CityBench, Safe Routes for Seniors, Safe Routes to School, Neighborhood Slow Zones, and Street Seats.

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Alliance for Biking and Walking. “Bicycling and Walking in the United States, 2012 Benchmarking Report.” 2012.

Alliance for Downtown New York, "Lower Manhattan Pedestrian Counts," June 2012.

Central Park Conservatory, "Report on the Public Use of Central Park," April 2011.

Flegenheimer, Matt. "Traffic Fatalities in City Increased in 2012, but Officials Point to Larger Picture," The New York Times, March 2013.

New York City Department of Transportation, "The New York City Pedestrian Safety Study & Action Plan," 2011.

New York City Department of Transportation, "Pedestrians."

Shankman, Samantha, "A day in the life of Grand Central Terminal by the numbers," February 2013.

Times Square District Management Association, "Pedestrian Counts," 2013.

Union Square Partnership, "2012 Pedestrian Activity Report."

US Census. American Community Survey, 2011 5-year Estimate.

Velsey, Kim. "Among the Last Pedestrian Plazas of the Bloomberg Era, Marcy Avenue Plaza Is Unveiled in Brooklyn," The New York Observer, September 2013.