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Cities get US aid for pedestrian safety

NEW YORK — New York City, Philadelphia, and Louisville, Ky., were awarded $1.6 million in federal grants Friday for programs designed to curb pedestrian deaths.

The cities will use the money to educate drivers and pedestrians, go after speeders, and create safe walking routes, said David Friedman, the acting administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

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He said the selected cities have had high numbers of pedestrian fatalities and could become models for new approaches in traffic safety. In New York City, he said, 127 pedestrians were killed in 2012, accounting for nearly half of the city’s traffic deaths that year.

‘‘Everyone is a pedestrian at some point in their day,’’ Friedman said. ‘‘These grants give local communities an opportunity to shine a spotlight on their pedestrian safety concerns and make their cities safer places to walk.’’

Friedman announced the grants during his keynote speech at the World Traffic Safety Symposium in New York and later joined the city’s transportation commissioner and other officials at a news conference in Times Square. The area, dubbed the Crossroads of the World, has been closed to car traffic since 2009, turning it into a multi-block pedestrian plaza.

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