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City Council Examines Mayor's 'Vision Zero' Safety Plan

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Last week, Mayor Bill de Blasio unveiled details of his Vision Zero plan, which aims to reduce and ultimately eliminate traffic fatalities, and while the initiative was generally hailed by safety advocates, there are some for whom the plan doesn't go far enough. NY1's Bobby Cuza filed the following report.

One after another, fighting back tears, they gave heart-wrenching testimony of children struck down and killed on city streets.

"No one should ever have to experience their child being resuscitated in the emergency room and later told, 'We have to stop,' or understand what it's like when holding your child and feel their body temperature drop," said Amy Tan, who lost her daughter in a traffic crash.

Spurred to activism, parents weighed in Monday on Vision Zero, Mayor Bill de Blasio's plan, unveiled last week, to dramatically improve pedestrian safety.

Dana Lerner's son, Cooper Stock, was struck and killed by a taxi driver who failed to yield. He received only a summons.

"If there's no punishment, what's the incentive for them to act lawfully?" Lerner said. "If they think they're going to get - this man got a $300 fine. He killed my son."

The Taxi and Limousine Commission is pursuing rule changes to more easily remove unsafe drivers from the road. It's also exploring the use of black box data recorders and technology that warns passengers that the driver is speeding.

"Black boxes exist today. We may want to modify them. That may take a little bit of time," said Conan Freud, chief operating officer of the Taxi and Limousine Commission. "The meter stuff may take a year or two."

The mayor also wants to lower the default speed limit from 30 to 25 mph.

"We urge you to demand 20 mph, as it will save many more lives," said Amy Cohen, who lost her son in a traffic crash.

While generally supportive of the mayor's plan, council members stressed the need for more school crossing guards.

City officials said that Vision Zero's implementation will come in phases.

"As soon as the weather gets a little better, you're going to see us out doing work on roadways all over the city, improving intersections, improving lighting, all the things that we've talked about in the report," said city Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg. "So those will be some concrete things you're going to see right away."

Some initiatives central to the mayor's plan, like lowering the speed limit and adding more red light and speeding enforcement cameras, require approval in Albany. There was no word Monday on the status of any discussions between City Hall and state leaders.

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