NEW YORK -- The wide avenues of the Upper West Side have some of this city's handsomest neighborhoods, premier cultural venues and long stretches of green space. They also have a remarkably deadly history for pedestrians, a fact not lost on Joel Ruben as he ambled across Broadway.
Ruben, 88, stood on the sidewalk and looked north into four lanes of traffic heading his way. As other pedestrians inched into the street against the "Don't walk" sign, looking to get a head start on the green light, Ruben hung back until he had the "Walk" sign. "I'm very careful," he said after reaching the other side, a few seconds after "Don't walk" began flashing red.
For good reason: At least a dozen pedestrians aged 66 to 93 have been killed within a 10-block radius of this spot since 2001, highlighting what transportation experts say is a nationwide problem confronting cities that for decades designed streets for fast-moving vehicles.
What they didn't consider was the aging of America, a trend laid bare by the 2010 census and now presenting cities -- especially pedestrian-heavy ones like New York -- with a problem.