Sunday, December 28, 2014

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The Call Blog: Mayor De Blasio Announces Task Force To Make Streets Safer

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A few short months ago, Mayor Bloomberg celebrated the “tremendous progress” made reaching record lows for traffic fatalities. But today, Mayor de Blasio described the number of fatalities as "an epidemic." So, which one is it? Unless we are to believe record lows can also be epidemics.

In the first two weeks of the year, eleven people have been killed in traffic accidents in the five boroughs. In an effort to eliminate all traffic-related deaths within ten years, Mayor de Blasio announced today a task force that will develop a safety plan called "Vision Zero," along with other steps that will be taken immediately.

Effective tomorrow, the City will use additional traffic cameras to issue tickets, not just warnings. In addition, the NYPD will deploy more officers to enforce serious traffic violations and enforce speed limits on certain streets. The Mayor also said the number of 20 mph zones across the City will expand soon.

Do you welcome additional traffic enforcement cameras and lower speed limits in your neighborhood? What ideas do you have to make the streets of New York City safer? What do you think is the biggest cause of traffic deaths in New York? What intersection would you like the task force members to come visit?

Send your thoughts using the link above.

I walk a mile to the subway every day down Cross Bay Boulevard. Every day I have to take my life in my own hands. You have to be very observant as many cars would sooner hit you than yield the right of way. Even when the crosswalk sign says "walk" cars turning roll slowly towards you instead of stopping. The situation will only be resolved when NYPD wakes up and enforces traffic regulations vigorously.

Lawrence (the independent)
Howard Beach

Hi John

I welcome lower speed limits and more traffic cameras in my neighborhood because there are 2 schools 1 block from each other and a lot of students to and from by themselves, i live one block away from Ariel Russo was killed by a drunk driver he should of received the death penalty for killing her she had her whole life ahead of her. I would like the task force to vist 97 st and Amsterdam Ave because to many cars are turning at one time from 97 st onto Amsterdam ave there should be another crossing guard there. The next intersection is 106 st and 3rd ave big rigs always turn on to 106 st from 3rd ave its hard for them to see little kids i'm afraid a child is going to get caught in the back wheel and end up dead, parents need to hold young kids hands when crossing wide streets.

upper west side

Hi John;

I walk, bike and drive in the city and unequivocally I can say the number one cause of traffic deaths in New York City is negligence by pedestrians. I can't tell you how many times I've seen an adult (can't be sure if they are a parent or other caregiver) pushing a stroller, talking on a phone/listening to headphones and crossing a street against a red light (or worse in the middle of a block). What ever happened to cross at the green and not in between?

People keep looking to drivers, whether adding cameras, changing traffic patterns, reducing speed limits as the solution but a lot of what's changes are distractions for pedestrians who either don't pay attention or blatantly act as if no rules apply to them. There are laws against texting while driving, how about a fine for texting while crossing a street? Why do pedestrians consistently take three steps off the curb while waiting for the light to change? Will the few seconds it saves really make a difference in getting to their destination? By leaving the safety of the curb the margin of error for cars is reduced and the pedestrians get in the way of bikes which can create bike/pedestrian problems and bike/motor vehicle problems.


Nope, just a trap and a way to make more $$$$$.. Try giving NYCDOE a raise!


I think these are all good ideas, but anyone charged with enforcement should be prepared for a lot of blow-back from people they're stopping and ticketing -- there's a huge percentage of people in this city who believe that speed limits are no more than suggestions, and not good ones.

Upper West Side

I'm not crazy about the addition of cameras. It seems Big Brother constantly has it's eyes on us there days. Part of the reason for such insanity behind the wheel is our harried culture; everyone is in a hurry; everyone is stressed out. We need to learn to take life a little easier.

Jackson Heights

I'm so happy this is taking place . I live on a block that was once a dead end but now is a straight through block . The cabs fly through the block like bats out of hell.

Danielle ... Harlem


I feel this should have been done a loooooonnnnnggggg time ago. I lost a family member in 2009 in front of a school in Staten Island with no traffic lights. My daughter was hit/grazed by a car crossing a street, with the light in her favor. In schools we used to have lessons for traffic safety. I think we need that again.

Fanilow, Flushing
PS Happy New Year!


Too many people (children and elderly especially) are being killed by hit and runs, cars (SUVs) jumping curbs and too many people without licenses or suspended licenses. All neighborhoods have speed demons (too much video games?) that people need to slow it down and to be made accountable for their actions.

I welcome all these changes -- but will our local precincts do their jobs as well? They're quick with giving parking tickets but tend to ignore speeding, not stopping at STOP signs, making U-turns in the middle of heavy traffic, double parking ... Something has to be done!

Dina and Ed - Throggs Neck


Drivers who cause accidents ignore traffic laws. Increasing the number of regulations and the amount of the fine for violating them will have no noticeable effect. But the politicians will praise one another for their having taken action.

Port Richmond, SI

Hi John,

No one will obey the laws of any kind. That’s been out of control. There is to much local speeding and the thoroughfares are used as a highway speeding at high speeds and when crossing one had better watch out. They come around the corners like you know what. Much of this is done while drivers are on the cell phones. Why do we need more cameras to give out more tickets? Law enforcement gives out enough of them. Correct me if I am wrong but why would you stop = [STOP AND FRISK] and then create a task force to make the streets safer.

Thank you John,

I would like to applaud Mayor de Blasio creating a task force in an attempt to make our streets safer. Last year an 86 year old neighbor of mind was killed with his dog and were killed by a driver who was speeding to catch the green light. A slower speed limit in residential areas would greatly reduce injuries and death. Now I feel our Mayor has it right and for that I say," Kudos."

Freddy -Glen Oaks Village

Hi John;

I appealed to DOT under Sadik Khan for a red light camera at East 52nd and 1st Avenue. Of course, nothing was done. I stopped counting the number of pedestrians struck at 9 (I'm not here all the time so I'm sure the 17th pct. Highway Safety Officer has accurate stats).. I would be happy to see red light cameras at every intersection in NYC. Drivers will definitely slow down rather than speed up when the lights turn yellow. Plus, this would be a fair way to finance pre-K.

On another note, I think that driver's who kill pedestrians should be locked up on the traffic violation. The driver who killed the little boy upper west got a failure to yield to pedestrian summons; he should have been locked up in lieu of the summons. I also think a 20 mile per hour speed limit would bring drivers down to safer speeds; Those driving 50 miles an hour throughout the city might bring the speed down to 30.

midtown east


Just wanted to suggest a "radical" idea ... enforce existing laws against blocking pedestrian walkways in the "other" boroughs ... not just Manhattan!

The situation at Union Street and 8th Avenue in Brooklyn is one example of a problem caused by selfish entitlement-mentality drivers. Eastbound traffic gets backed up from the intersection a block away at Grand Army Plaza. Problem is that even when it is absolutely obvious that another car or truck cannot fit without blocking the crosswalk on the east side of 8th Ave, and with the light about to change, a car or truck will invariably try to make it through, and then block the pedestrians trying to cross Union St (heading to a nearby subway station). This is dangerous to the pedestrians, who must walk in front of or behind the vehicle. It's also dangerous to the jerks in the car, who risk being T-boned by the cars going north on 8th Ave -- some of these vehicles are so backed up they protrude into the 8th Ave lanes. This is a frequent occurrence, especially during the latter part of the morning rush hour (ie between 9:30-10am).

Faye from Brooklyn

I am so thankful for what happened today and just hope the changes will be seen in my Turtle Bay neighborhood.

I have never understood why we have laws on our books (for example, yielding to pedestrians in crosswalks) that we are required to learn to get our driver licenses but that aren't enforced by the police!! If we aren't going to enforce these laws, then we should repeal them!

Fingers crossed...

Ellie - Turtle Bay

Lower speed limits; put in speed cameras and get rid of bicycles.

East Village

a big problem is distracted driving,followed by distracted pedestrians using wireless devices. The nypd needs concentrate their enforcement of all moving violations. bring back zero tolerance! Cops don't need to be issuing parking tickets,that's what traffic enforcement agents are for.Divers know there are fewer cops on the street and will break traffic laws because they know they have a slim chance of getting caught.

Forest Hills

Hi it's Paul from Staten Island,I think that every left turning lane should have its own traffic signal or a left turn arrow. This would cause less accidents

I agree with having more cameras...the cabs crosses all 4 lanes with no care in the world, putting EVERYONE @ risk!...they even challenge eachother DANGEROUSLY...just to get a fare....reporting them and going to court is a draining process...maybe this way, its easier to catch them in the act!

McGriff from Brooklyn

It's tragic how many people have been seriously injured or killed when crossing the street. Not only people speed while driving, but they text. A yellow light unfortunately doesn't prompt people to use caution & slow down, but prompts them to speed up to beat the right light. In a fraction of a second, a life can be ended.

Also, people who are tired or distracted shouldn't drive, because they could unintentionally do harm. We need to slow down & concentrate while driving.

Rego Park

I would like to see a study done of traffic turns on a green light.

In a city like NYC, how much time does traffic save when they turn on a green light? I think precious little because pedestrians are rushing across.

As for pedestrians, I find it intimidating when crossing on the green light when I have right of way because vehicles hustle you to get across. Twice I nearly got hit by drivers not paying attention. A friends sister was killed when she was crossing.

It would be better to just have no turn on green for traffic but a red light for pedestrians when traffic has the exclusive right to turn.

Thank you.
Anita P
Upper East Side, 10128

What does De Blasio think 600 garbage trucks per day will do to traffic safety on York Avenue where hundreds of kids are walking to school and the Asphalt Green recreational facilities every day? Related to the 91st street transfer station.

Upper East Side

Upper West Siders like me are constantly dodging speeding traffic -- trucks, cabs, and the ubiquitous illegal motorized bikes used by delivery guys. Why is nobody enforcing the e-bike law which went into effect this December? A friend of mine was recently hit by one and may have pain for the rest of his life.

It is important to note that the UWS is the largest N.O.R.C. -- naturally-occurring retirement community -- in the country and seniors can barely get across the street before the lights change. Driver penalties should be stiff and severe for pedestrian deaths and serious injuries just like in Europe -- jail time and you lose your license forever.

Gretchen - UWS

Speed cameras are a great way to reduce speeding, which is rampant in NYC. It seems that speeding is the norm as opposed to following the speed limit. Too bad there can't be more speed cameras.


I just notified the NY Dept. of Transportation Monday about the fact that the lights on Lenox Avenue change too quickly. I experienced this on 132nd and Lenox Avenue. As soon as the green light comes on, the countdown begins while on West St. where I work I can count to 10 after the green until the countdown begins. There are many elderly and disabled residents in Harlem who are having trouble crossing Lenox Avenue. They start crossing and then get stuck in the middle on the median which is very dangerous and can be fatal.


I think dot should aggressively survey intersection and asses if addition traffic light are needed. I.e 86 street cpw , needs a turning green arrow. Turning into central park transverse.

DOT SHOULD SURVEY STREETS INTERSECTION, example 86 street cow needs a turn traffic light into central park.

Craig from harlem.

Why always the driver is presumed guilty? Many of the problems are created by the authorities, that give me impression that they do not drive or they forgot what it is like.

It seems that all the solutions implied more cameras, that do not improve safety, but are just a lottery tax, a source of revenue. Another solution that in the long run is totally counterproductive is to plant a stop sign all over. Those stop signs where it is not necessary, like a T corner, only are calling wolf where there is no wolf and, slowly people do not see them. Too many stop signs are in position just for revenues, not for safety. With the proliferation of stop signs, it happens the same like with car alarms. When they just started, hearing one used to make all people looking who was stealing a car. Now, they do not call attention, it is just another who does not know how to open the door of the car.

Four ways stop signs are in clear disregard of the original purpose of the sign. In practical life, cars get to the corner, drivers look each other and all are afraid to pass, until many times, they decided to pass at the same time. If it is necessary to stop traffic in every direction, it is necessary a traffic light, not a stop sign.

It is a law, that traffic must be clear before attempting a left turn. Regardless, every corner where there is green turning arrow, it comes before the opposite direct traffic, a clear violation of the law. Now, many people do not even look before turning left, because they learn from those green arrow, that the right of way is on the turning car.

I can give many other examples, but your time on the program is short. I am willing to talk to any person that is able to listen and look for a real solution, not just a political push for a few days.

J. Enrique

i agree about the speeders and those that have care of the rules.. look at all those drivers that make right turns with a red light against them.. or do not stop at stop signs. we need more police at thos busy intersections that WILL GIVE THEM TICKETS..


John & The Call Staff -

I believe the installation of speed cameras is long overdue. From a safety perspective we as residents can only benefit from such a technology. As the Mayor commented about the sensitivity of where to place these cameras, some consideration should be made about speed cameras near shopping centers where a number of people do walk to these stores and to bus stops which are nearby as well.

As it stands now Hylan Boulevard which is a main road is similar to a raceway especially at night. From my experience on Staten Island the use of speed cameras should be used as a pilot program to see if the technology reduces the number and type of accidents.

For a future show on this topic, maybe The Call could collect statistics on the number of speeding tickets NYPD has issued per borough. I presume the findings would be quite telling with limited enforcement on drivers who speed.

John, Oakwood

Bicycles cause cars to hit pedestrians - remember the tourist who lost her leg near Radio City? The go the wrong way in traffic, ride on the sidewalks and laugh when they scare seniors.

East Village

Well, #1 is there should be more school safety agent on the street during school hours. #2, The people in NY need to have structure, while crossing the street. There should be carmera's on the street for presdiante that walk when the don't walk sign is on. I'm a driver, I have seen people walk out in front of Cars, Buses, Trucks and don't have the right of way everyone is busy going somewhere, and can't wait!! and that's a problem. Everyone must take control of their actions people on the street and driviers.


I am a former nyc resident who now lives in florida. In our town we have red light cameras at just about every intersection including exit ramps from I95. Although I do not agree with having all of these lights, all of the residents know that it will cost them $158 for running a red light. During recent visits to the apple, I was amazed at the lack if enforcement. Stop signs are not for me the are there for you. Taxi drivers drive like they own the roads. The LIE is insane. The speed limit is 55mph but traffic is going 65-75mph. This needs to be cleaned up ASAP.




I walk across the Pulaski bridge on my way to work every day and it's scary, because bicyclists seem to have no care at all for the safety of pedestrians. Someone is definitely going to get hurt someday soon. Also I notice that bicyclists never obey traffic rules. They blow through red lights constantly and I have to dodge them all the time when crossing the street. I think enforcing traffic rules on bicyclists would help immensely. Unfortunately cyclists seem to think they own the roads and sidewalks and pedestrians are a mere inconvenience.

Galen from Greenpoint

I am a pedestrian and a driver and I have seen it all. First drivers need to understand what it means to yield to pedestrian. They pass in front or behind you as you are crossing or they keep inching up. Pedestrians should wait for the light before they cross and put away distractions. There should be absolutely no turning when someone is in the cross walk. Lower speed limit for residential areas and school vicinity.


People are constantly just walking into traffic and that is the real cause of pedestrian deaths.


No one obeys the traffic lights; drivers speed up to get thru red lights; bikers & pedestrians ignore the don't walk signs. The traffic police (those who direct traffic at intersections) should be authorized to give tickets.


The mayor should pay more attention too the elderly once thy hit that certain age. So many accident un necessary


Pedestrians need to actually cross at crosswalks and stop jumping out into traffic. It is dangerous and illegal. Anybody who lives in NYC sees this happening all the time. They need to enforce those rules for once.

Dave from Brooklyn

Enforce jaywalking rules and we will see a major drop in pedestrians being killed.
Queens Blvd is notorious for jaywalking, but we never see anyone getting ticketed!

Forest Hills

I mostly walk but I drive too. Pedestrian cross without looking or worse I have seen pedestrians cross against light on purpose. Especially on east broadway and Rutgers They should get warnings or get a ticket because the are putting themselves in danger.

Though my complaint is cyclists who ignore traffic laws. I was hit by a speeding bike messenger going the wrong way on a one way street. I ended up at the emergency room


to many cars, to many people and not a priority for nypd

jerry from brooklyn

Strategically build walkway overpasses on wide streets blvds and and densly populated intersection like Time Sqare & along 34th steet like in Las Vegas

Winny from Park Slope

If you want things to get better issue tickets to the pedestrians crossing street without the right of way!! Put cameras there for pedestrians. Hire more school safety by schools. Put cameras at intersection, where cars are making turns. perhaps in the turning lanes. Bicylces have traffic light and can get tickets make it fare for everyone.

Good Luck NYC!!!

Jenny from Queens

The only purpose of camera ticket. The millions that it produces.


Right or wrong is not the point. The motor vehicle is a killer weapon. Everyone who drives one is totally responsible to take every precaution to keep pedestrians safe. The speed limits must be lowered and obeyed with severe penalties if ignored. There is Never an excuse when a pedestrian is injured. Physical injury and deaths cannot be tolerated. The speeds that people drive at and the total neglect of safety rules is out of control. Because the pace of the city is so crazy fast doesn't mean a harmless pedestrian should pay the price for drivers impatience. The culprit here is Speed!!! If people in cars, cab drivers cut their speed there would most certainly be fewer fatalities. Look at ANY street in the city, at any time and you will see people driving at speeds that are incredibly dangerous. Is there any excuse for a pedestrian death ???? I think not. Severe punishment should be given to the vehicle driver in any pedestrian accident. That would make people slow down. There is no excuse in the death of another... Pedestrians should be fined for breaking the rules of the road. If the fine was high and enforced for pedestrians, and the drivers of Killer Machines slowed down under the threat of even more severe penalties, the city would be a safer place.


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