Nearly two years ago, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced his Vision Zero plan, with the goal of eliminating all traffic deaths in New York City by 2024. While there is still progress to be made, things appear to be heading in the right direction. Traffic deaths in the city have fallen for the second year in a row from 257 in 2014 to 230 in 2015.
Pedestrian deaths in particular, which make up the largest portion of the fatalities, also dropped. In 2015, 133 pedestrians died in motor vehicle accidents. However, this number could change once the cases are studied more closely. The greatest drop was among motorcyclist deaths, from 37 in 2014 to 22 in 2015.
Mayor de Blasio is encouraged by these results and plans on further strengthening the city’s efforts to get closer to the goal. So far, the city has lowered the default speed limit to 25 miles per hour and made safety improvements to the streets. Enforcement has also increased, with a crackdown on speeding and traffic violations. In 2015, over 132,000 drivers were given summonses for speeding, which is significantly more than the 83,000 in 2013. The redesign of the dangerous Queens Boulevard, which includes a bike lane, has proven to be a success as well.
New initiatives for Vision Zero were announced last year including stopping car traffic in Central Park and Prospect Park on weekdays and setting up speed cameras near schools. With all the progress being made, there is hope for the future when it comes to preventing senseless accident deaths. Although the city will realistically never be able to get to zero deaths, it is goal worth aiming for.
Source: The New York Times, “Number of Traffic Deaths in New York Falls for a Second Straight Year,” Emma G. Fitzsimmons, Jan. 1, 2016