Skip to content

Get the information you need to help care for your eyes at the AARP Eye Center. Visit it today!


Safe Routes for Seniors: Elder Districts


Census data shows that more people are aging in place today than ever before. New York City is a great place for people to grow old, however, there are many changes and improvements that need to be made to New York streets to ensure a more comfortable and livable environment for older residents. Transportation Alternatives created this presentation as part of its Safe Routes for Seniors campaign to educate planners, local officials, and community leaders on the steps that must be taken to establish a safer pedestrian environment for all residents, especially older adults expecting to remain in their communities as they age.

Key Points

This presentation focuses on improvements New York City Chinatown’s Elder District can make to its streets and pedestrian infrastructure. It outlines the main issues with Chinatown’s pedestrian environment and offers specific solutions and recommendations to improve the safety and mobility of older residents living in this district. The main problems concerning Chinatown’s pedestrian environment include blocked crosswalks and sidewalks, fast turning vehicles that do no yield to pedestrians, limited safe and comfortable pedestrian refuge areas, and limited time to cross the street.

Recommendations provided in the presentation include:

  1. Calm traffic by lowering maximum speed limits, installing raised crosswalks or intersections, providing bicycle lanes, adding mini roundabouts, etc.
  2. To combat the problem of blocked crosswalks and sidewalks, fine or tow illegally parked vehicles, install bollards along the curb of sidewalks, and/or remove parking spots closest to the crosswalk and extend the curb.
  3. To alleviate the danger of fast turning vehicles that do not yield to pedestrians, implement a “pedestrian scramble” that separates the pedestrian phase from the vehicle phase at crosswalks.

How to Use

The recommendations provided in this presentation can be used by community planners and local officials to better understand what must be done to improve pedestrian safety for residents. By planning community streets to accommodate the needs of older residents, these streets become safer and more comfortable for all road users. The specific solutions covered throughout this presentation can be customized by community planners to meet the needs of pedestrians in their communities.

View the full report: Safe Routes for Seniors: Elder Districts (PDF – 3.8 MB)

Stay Informed — For Free!

Each issue of the award-winning AARP Livable Communities e-Newsletter contains a mix of inspiring examples, community resources and information about livability efforts from places near and far. Subscribe today!

AARP Livable Communities e-Newsletter