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NYPD: Number of Traffic Deaths in First Quarter Down Citywide

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TWC News: NYPD: Number of Traffic Deaths in First Quarter Down Citywide
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As Mayor Bill de Blasio pushes his Vision Zero plan to reduce traffic deaths around the city, new numbers show the streets might be getting safer for New Yorkers. NY1's Jon Weinstein filed the following report.

City streets are somewhat safer for pedestrians so far this year. The New York City Police Department says 51 people were killed in traffic accidents from January 1st through March 30th of this year.

The number includes drivers, pedestrians and bicyclists.

It's a 26 percent drop from the same stretch in 2013 when 69 people died.

The number of injuries is also down by more than a thousand.

Somewhat surprising is the number of cyclists killed stayed at two despite the introduction of thousands of Citi Bikes.

It's still early to call this a trend and harsh winter weather may have driven down traffic. But the signs are encouraging for some on the Upper West Side.

"I drive, I walk, I ride, I do all three of those things and it's really crazy from every perspective. So if it's down that's great," said one Manhattan resident.

The intersection of 96th Street and Broadway is considered one of the most dangerous in Manhattan. In January, two people died there in the span of only nine days. But now the city Department of Transportation is starting to make some changes which is a welcome development for the community.

"It's just been a horrible stretch of pedestrian accidents in this particular area so DOT had to do something," said Community Board 7 Transportation Chair Andrew Albert.

The changes include a new crosswalk for people getting off the subway on the island, left-turn restrictions and a change to the timing of street signals. There's also a crossing guard helping to keep things under control.

"I love seeing these guys here, these crossing guards. I think it's making a difference," said one pedestrian.

There are other potential citywide changes in the works. As part of his Vision Zero plan, Mayor Bill de Blasio is asking Albany for more speed cameras.

"You get a ticket in the mail because you're speeding you'll think about it the next time around," said one pedestrian.

But many say safety comes down to people respecting each other and acting intelligently.

"For pedestrians as well as motorists there has to be an understanding. You have to have a mutual respect. You can't rush the light, when it says don't walk. Even though you don't see cars, you shouldn't walk," said one pedestrian.

There are other traffic pattern changes being contemplated in the area at 79th and 72nd streets. The hope is that more changes will keep the numbers heading in the right direction.

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