After promising to “end the tragic and unacceptable rash of pedestrian deaths” in his State of the City speech, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has officially unveiled his “Vision Zero Action Plan.” On Manhattan’s Upper West Side, near an area where three pedestrians have been killed in the past month, the mayor promised to address the scourge of traffic fatalities across the city.
Mayor de Blasio was joined by Department of Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg and Police Commissioner Bill Bratton as he laid-out the sobering statistics on traffic-related fatalities. “Being struck by a car is the leading cause of injury-related death for children younger than 15,” said de Blasio. “It’s the second leading cause of injury-related death for our senior citizens.” And, according to the most recent data, the mayor said there were nearly as many traffic fatalities in New York City as there were homicides last year.
The “Action Plan” includes 63 specific initiatives that will span across many city agencies, from the NYPD to the Taxi and Limousine Commission to the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. The plan proposes redesigning dangerous streets, adding more “slow zones” across the city, and increasing traffic enforcement with more red light and speeding cameras. The most notable part of the plan is likely the mayor’s goal to reduce the city speed limit from 30 miles per hour to 25. This, initiative, though would have to be approved by the State Legislature in Albany.
What is not included in this plan is a city-wide crackdown on jaywalking. Tickets issued for jaywalking have risen dramatically under de Blasio, but the mayor says that does not reflect a larger initiative. While dispelling the notion that he is out to get jaywalkers–which has inspired some provocative headlines–the mayor defended precinct commanders’ right to issue tickets they deem appropriate.
“[The Action Plan] is about much more than speed bumps and the issuing of violations,” said de Blasio. “It’s also about all of us taking greater responsibility every time we get behind the wheel, and every time we step out on the street. Our lives are literally in each other’s hands.”
But just two days after the mayor called for safer streets, his own NYPD-driven caravan was caught speeding and blowing through stop signs by CBS 2.