Much to the delight of advocates for cyclist and pedestrian safety, Mayor Bill de Blasio in recent months pledged his support to a concept known as "Vision Zero," a plan to completely eliminate traffic-related deaths on city streets, and on Tuesday, the mayor backed up his rhetoric with a series of concrete proposals, though he can't implement all of them on his own. NY1's Bobby Cuza filed the following report.
On Tuesday, Mayor Bill de Blasio outlined his so-called "Vision Zero" plan at P.S. 75, near an intersection where three pedestrians were struck and killed in the past month.
While crime has continued to decline, traffic fatalities have plateaued. In fact, there were nearly as many traffic deaths as homicides last year.
So de Blasio wants to lower the city's default speed limit from 30 mph to 25 mph, coupled with more enforcement of speeding and failure to yield to pedestrians.
"There's going to be more consequences for bad behavior that could endanger human life," de Blasio said.
Altogether, the mayor's plan includes 63 initiatives spread across city agencies. They include stiffer penalties for scofflaw taxi drivers, re-designing 50 dangerous intersections or corridors each year, and adding red light and speeding enforcement cameras. The New York City Police Department will also shift resources.
"We are significantly increasing the staffing in our highway division, as well as the investigative capabilities of the department, so that we will be able to investigate all collisions with injuries," said Police Commissioner William Bratton.
Among those applauding the plan include family members who lost loved ones like Sammy Cohen Eckstein, struck and killed on Prospect Park West.
"Sammy was killed in front of our home, a street that's known where people drive too quickly," said Amy Cohen, Sammy's mother. "A van hit and ran over him, and if that van had been going slower, Sammy would probably still be alive today."
Some of the initiatives, including lowering the speed limit and adding red light and speeding cameras, require approval in Albany, and despite resistance there to some of his other proposals, like a tax hike to fund universal pre-K, de Blasio sounded confident that he could win approval.
"I think this is an area where we're going to find a lot of agreement in Albany," de Blasio said.
Meanwhile, on Tuesday, with his transition winding down, de Blasio made another round of appointments. He named Maya Wiley as counsel to the mayor, Donna Corrado as commissioner of the Department for the Aging, and Emily Lloyd as commissioner of the Department of Environmental Protection.