By Bill Parry
The ultimate goal of the de Blasio administration’s Vision Zero initiative to have zero pedestrian fatalities by 2024 is unlikely, according to NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton. The city’s top cop kicked off the Vision Zero Cities conference with that stunning admission at NYU last week.
“You’re not going to get to zero,” Bratton said. “The reality of it will probably remain elusive, much the same as the reality of no crime in the city of New York. As long as we have humans who are walking, riding bicycles, cars, as long as we have people, we will have crime.”
During a January visit to Woodside, the mayor declared his initiative was working and that 2015 was the safest year on city streets since record keeping began in 1910 with traffic fatalities down 22 percent with 66 fewer lives lost in 2015 than in 2013.
De Blasio defended Bratton’s comments Monday.
“We say Vision Zero because it’s our goal, and we are audacious in trying to reach that very goal,” he said. “We know there are human factors, we know how hard it is, but it’s the right goal because each and every one of these crashes is preventable.”
Jackson Heights resident Cristina Furlong, a founding member of Make Queens Safer, believes the initiative is making strides. She pointed to two of the borough’s most dangerous roadways as proof.
“We did, in fact, get to zero on parts of Northern Boulevard, where 2013 saw three fatalities and 2014 none,” Furlong said. “The same happened with Queens Boulevard in 2015 for the first time in 25 years. If we take this goal street by dangerous street and precinct by precinct, it’s worthy. It’s getting done.”
Reach reporter Bill Parry by e-mail at bparr