Vision Zero is in 20/20 focus for Bay Ridge mom Maureen Landers.
“I was hit by a car in 2009 in Bay Ridge on 4th Avenue and then, unfortunately, last year my son was hit by a car,” said Landers. “The feeling in the neighborhood is that every time you’re crossing a street...you’re putting your life into the hands of drivers that you don’t trust."
Tuesday afternoon, Landers sat beside Mayor Bill de Blasio as he announced updated plans for the next five years of Vision Zero based on what they’ve learned since launching the program in 2014.
Mayor de Blasio touted 2018 as the safest in more than a century for city streets. He said the number of traffic deaths was at an all-time low of 201, down nearly a third from 2013, the year before Vision Zero started.
Moving forward, Vision Zero will focus on the 7 percent of the city’s streets where nearly half of all pedestrian deaths happen.
“Sometimes it will be a redesign of a street or an intersection or an area,” said de Blasio. “Sometimes it will be more enforcement. Sometimes it will be more education. Sometimes it’ll be all three.”
“This year, you’re going to see more pedestrian head starts at key intersections that will give people more time to cross the streets,” explained de Blasio. “You’re going to see the traffic lights re-timed in certain key areas to reduce speeding.”
DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg pointed to one key factor they’ll be focusing on moving forward.
“Speed reduction - I think that’s the secret sauce, regardless of what else is happening on the street or behind the wheel,” said Trottenberg.
But there are some speed bumps, including roughly 500 more traffic injuries in 2018 than the year before and seven more fatalities this year over the same period last year.
“We’re going to be really cracking down even more on speeding, on failure to yield,” said de Blasio. “You’ll continue to see checkpoints to stop people from drunk driving, etcetera.”
“We know when you’re making change, it’s not always linear,” said de Blasio. “We have seen over five years, extraordinarily consistent results. Every time we see even the slightest movement in the wrong direction, we take it very seriously because it’s about human lives.”
The mayor also stressed that pedestrians need to do their part by being vigilant, and urged people not to text or be on their cell phones while using crosswalks