Mayor Unveils ‘Vision’ In Woodside
An ambitious campaign to drop the number of deadly vehicular accidents across the city over the next decade was announced by Mayor Bill de Blasio and other officials last Wednesday, Jan. 15, at the Woodside intersection where a young boy was fatally hit by a truck last month.
The “Vision Zero” initiative, as de Blasio described it, is a collaborative effort between the NYPD, the city Department of Transportation, the city Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and the Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) to formulate an action plan that will make streets safer for both drivers and pedestrians, with the aim of reducing the number of traffic fatalities to zero in 10 years time.
Long-term safety measures will be recommended by a working group involved in the Vision Zero project in a report due at the Mayor’s Office by Feb. 15, it was noted. The working group will formulate “a comprehensive roadmap” to improve at least 50 dangerous roadways and intersections each year; expand reduced speed limit zones; increase police presence where needed; and pursue state legislation granting the city home rule in determining how speed cameras are used.
Meanwhile, de Blasio noted, the city is taking more immediate steps to slow drivers down and prevent deadly accidents. As of last Wednesday, traffic enforcement cameras are programmed to enforce the city’s 30 mph speed limit. The NYPD has also beefed up its Highway Patrol Division by 50 percent, with approximately 270 officers now assigned to the unit.
“This will be a top-to-bottom effort to take on dangerous streets and dangerous driving,” de Blasio said. “We aren’t going to wait and lose a son, a daughter, a parent or a grandparent in another senseless and painful tragedy.”
“From tougher enforcement to more safely-designed streets and stronger laws, we’ll confront this problem from every side-and it starts today,” the mayor added.
“We will be just as aggressive in preventing a deadly crash on our streets as we are in preventing a deadly shooting,” Bratton said. “Our police are going to enforce the laws on our streets consistently and effectively. This is going to be central to our work to keep New Yorkers safe.”
“My mother was killed by a drunk driver, so I take traffic safety issues very personally,” Katz said. “We need innovative measures and regulations to make our streets safe. Pedestrian accidents and fatalities are not a foregone conclusion. With concrete action, we can reduce the number of accidents and save lives that would have otherwise been lost.”
Among those who joined de Blasio, Bratton and Katz at the press conference last Wednesday were Police Commissioner Bill Bratton, incoming Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg, outgoing Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley and TLC Chief Operating Officer Conan Freud.
The mayor made the announcement at the corner of Northern Boulevard and 61st Street, where an 8-year-old boy-Noshat Nahain-was struck and killed by a tractor-trailer on Dec. 20, 2013 while attempting to cross the street on his way to school. Upon taking office on New Year’s Day, de Blasio and Bratton assigned a crossing guard to the location.
Mayor de Blasio stated he plans to personally meet with the families of accident victims citywide and work “in close partnership to enact the Vision Zero plan,” it was noted.