Thursday, December 18, 2014

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The Call Blog: Lawmakers Discuss Merits Of Mayor De Blasio's "Vision Zero" Plan

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The State needs the City. I'm not so sure the City needs the State. I will never understand why a lawmaker in Sullivan County gets a say on whether a red light camera is needed on Hylan Boulevard. The mayor who wrestles this control from Albany will be an instant hero.

City Council lawmakers heard testimony today on Mayor de Blasio's "Vision Zero" safety plan. Family members of traffic accident victims, transportation advocates, and the new DOT Commissioner spoke out in support of the initiative, which looks to eliminate all traffic-related deaths in the five boroughs within the next ten years.

Those testifying asked lawmakers to fight Albany for the City's ability to control the number of speed and red light cameras, and to allocate additional tax dollars to hire more engineers to study traffic issues. The plan also looks to reduce the local speed limit from 30 mph to 25 mph, increase enforcement against reckless drivers, and improve safety at 50 intersections each year.

The hearing came the same day the new mayor found himself answering questions for the first time about his security detail driving through stop signs and above the speed limit. Mayor de Blasio said, "Every city employee needs to respect the law, myself included. No one's above the law." But, he refused to second guess what he described as a matter of security protocol. What do you say?

What ideas do you have to reduce traffic accidents in New York City? Do you want to see more of your tax dollars going toward addressing dangerous intersections? Are you encouraged this administration is pledging to improve safety on the roadways? What's your reaction to Mayor de Blasio's comments that he is not "above the law?"

Send your thoughts using the link above.

Hi John;

Looks like a tale of two cities; government employees and non-government employees. I did not see the clip of the Mayor's detail violating traffic rules. Did they have sirens on? At least when ambulances, fire and police cross intersections against the light or go through stop signs they have sirens going to alert pedestrians and other drivers. There are times that job performance supercedes traffic rules but it should be done only in those circumstances.

Improving safety at dangerous intersections would be welcome but anecdotally I've noticed that recent fatalities seem to be casualties of the more generic battle for the crosswalk between pedestrians and turning vehicles. An easy fix would be to add more turn arrows so the vehicles are prompted to turn but pedestrians would need to respect that when turn arrows are on the don't walk sign is up. At a number of one way into one way intersections pedestrians have the walk signal when vehicles that could turn have a red light however some pedestrians will then see a green light and proceed to walk even though that is the vehicles' turn and the don't walk sign is up. I wonder if a gate could come down in front of pedestrians when they have a don't walk sign (similar to railroad crossings) - at least at dangerous intersections.

Is there a study of all traffic fatalities and major injuries that is available to the public? I recall Commissioner Bratton citing a study that roughly 2/3s of accidents were at least contributed to by pedestrian negligence. One thing I notice when driving is that pedestrians appear to think drivers can always see them which is not always the case. In the mornings glare can be bad on crosstown streets and when there is rain or other precipitation visibility can be limited so pedestrians should not assume drivers see them.


Ted from LES

Much of what DeBlasio wants to do rests with the gang of lawmakers in Albany -- more specifically, some dude in Rochester, who heads that particular committee (Sheldon Silver's pick). Again, it's not just a tale of 2 cities, but a tale of 2 states. Speaker Sheldon Silver, who lives here in NYC, should be on top of this, but instead, we are hearing crickets...

Meanwhile, I see vehicles barreling up and down on West End Ave., Columbus Ave., Amsterdam -- rarely going the 30 mph speed limit -- more like over 40 mph or more.

Gretchen - UWS

My 92 yr old grandpa, who was in perfect health (still cooking and shopping) was hit and killed by a car on 65th place in Maspeth (queens). Being a former EMT, I tried to help a man on 21st Avenue and 21st Street in Astoria. He unfortunately passed away. My local police precinct has a whiteboard of at least 10 most accident prone intersections. If this is known, what is being done? The city needs to increase street lights and 4 way stop signs. People should not be losing their lives due to carelessness of drivers.

The mayor must really be trying to make a point today. Driving from Manhattan to Bayside I saw 4 cars pulled over by police!

Jennifer, east elmhurst

The other problem is the pedestrians are to absorbed into there cell phones, I pods as well as parents more concern with there phone calls Than crossing their kids safely. And bicyclists seem to allows ignore traffic rules.


I think they should change the way traffic lights r set up......they need to have roadway traffic lights for automobiles set apart from pedestrian's traffic lights so that automobiles can have their time to proceed....THEN pedestrians can have their time to proceed...I'm sure the fatality rate will drop DRASTICALLY!!

McGriff from Brooklyn

I sympathize with these families who have lost loved ones. This is a safety issue that needs to be addressed. However this is turning into expanding traffic cameras which is a revenue producing function. And completely ignores the deplorable Conditions of our roads. The pot holes alone have decreased the speed limit because of the damage caused to vehicles.
Deblasio us a poor administrator and Doesn't have the gumption to have DOT to address the infrastructure issue .


The Department of Transportation has it within its discretion to lower the speed limit to 25 on streets where safety warrants it but hardly ever does. It has done it only on curved streets like Howard Avenue in Grymes Hill, Staten Island and a few narrow streets like Van Brunt Street in Red Hook and recently Prospect Park West in Park Slope, which now has narrow lanes. But hundreds of side streets, including the service roads to Ocean Parkway, Eastern Parkway, and Queens Boulevard, are not safe to drive at 30, yet DOT does nothing. DOT should set out a policy to reduce all streets with lanes narrower than 12 feet to 25 MPH.


Hi John,

Hot topic! I will agree with both the Mayor's office and many residents - something must be done. Lowering the speed limit is a great idea. As another caller said, however, without enforcement, it means little. Additionally, enforcement has to be taken on jay walking and related pedestrian violations. This is not simply a driver/motor vehicle issue. As with many other issues in NYC, we all share in the responsibility to better the situation.

Thanks for the great topic!

Park Slope

Is the mayor going to do anything about the people driving these electric bikes in the city? Many people think they can use these bikes to make deliveries like motorcycles but they are not. I need a license insurance a helmet and signals. Most of these electric bikes go from sidewalk to streets as if they owned both.

George from Brooklyn

Instead of grinding traffic to a halt with a 20 mph speed limit how about we teach people how to cross the street? When I was a child I was taught to get across the street as it was dangerous. People today walk across intersections without ever looking at the traffic controls and wander as if they have nowhere to go. It's a roadway not a sidewalk.

Frank from Bayside.

Changing the speed limit will not effect those who disregard the law anyway. The 30 MPH is set for the progressive lights such as 2 ave or Ocean parkway. Changing to 25 MPh will involve changing all the traffic sequences.


I've been to a few other states as well where the pedestrians wait for the light. However, they have push to walk buttons that actually work and change the light for a pedestrian to cross. It's a different infrastructure. Blame the pedestrian is what I heard. This is what happens when you have to vote for the best of the worst...

Queens, NY

I grew up in the Bronx and live in Manhattan now. I drive and walk in are city everyday. Bronx pedestrians are the worst as they cross "Jwalk" midblock without even looking. Manhattan every pedestrian is in a rush ... I get it, but when the light is red wait on the sidewalk not in the street. Queens, well Queens blvd is huge, add another 5 seconds for pedestrians to cross ( dont see much J walk there). I think yellow lights should be longer by a second, they change so quick. I think if u hit a walking ( not running ) pedestrian in a crosswalk it should be a license suspension ( drivers making a turn sometimes get their view blocked by the A pillar on there vehicles so they should slow down on these turns
I think uninsured vehicles operators should be a felony and auto license suspension.

As far as mayor Diblasios NYPD detail taking stop signs and moving a bit quick on highways, well as mayor of NYC you are a target of assassination. Obviously shooting or blocking a moving target is much harder then hitting/shooting a sitting duck.

Lowering speed limit doesnt matter, driver attentiveness should be raised. Everyone should think what if there loved one was killed needlessly by a driver

Vindicate all NYPD PBA delegates involved in "ticket scandal" Then cops might be more aggressive enforcing traffic violations


Improving safety begins with more mutual respect between drivers and pedestrians. Pedestrians need to assume responsibility for crossing streets safely and yielding to drivers when the driver has the right of way. I see people constantly jay waking crossing streets anytime they want, texting while crossing and just not paying attention.

This new law only focuses on drivers and not at all on the pedestrians.

As a weekend driver in the city the worst offenders on the roads are the cops and taxi drivers, I think the average NYC driver takes the road with the respect and safety in mind, I know I do. I don't think lowering the speed limit will do anything. It will just mean that people are going to be speeding more often.

Cops need to set better examples.

Annoyed in brooklyn

I moved to nyc so I wouldn't have to drive to work. The way other people drive here in NYC would never be acceptable in any suburb. Their should be a special nypd unit for traffic safety and enforcement.


Please, can CBS tell us the speed they were on for catching up with the Mayor. Are they also not guilty of the same offence. If they can record that speed, they are also guilty.

Moreover, the security details(NYPD) do not have to obey the speed limit when they are taking the Mayor, Governor, or President to or out of functions.
Why in the world have you seen people criticize their leaders for the way they were driven out of functions.

If you guys do not get what you want, please keep quiet. Nobody fight a God Chosen one and go without the wrath of God.

Thank you.

Abiodun, Queens.

Shouldn't NYPD be setting the example by not talking on their phone and driving?

George from Bensenhurst

Will the mayor obey all rules from now on?


John & The Call -

I think the Mayor's plan for street safety is a great idea. I believe New York City needs speed cameras at other intersections to the speed cameras near school locales. We certainly don't need to speed up the cars as a caller just mentioned.

We need a safety review of the intersection at Tysens Lane and Hylan Boulevard on Staten Island. This intersection which is near a shopping center has many pedestrians and there is a need for safety study which would include a speed camera at this intersection.

John, Oakwood

Give the NYPD traffic patrol the authority to ticket jay walkers and drivers and bikers who run red lights, speed and ignore the traffic agents who are directing traffic. Let them start to enforce existing laws.


It is true that pedestrians have a part to play in improving traffic safety. However, it is unpleasant that so many New Yorkers still speak out against Vision Zero. Every day seems to bring another story of a driver who receives nothing but a mere slap on the wrist for killing or maiming another human being with a several-thousand-pound mass of steel. It is morally reprehensible that careless and aggressive drivers receive virtually no punishment for accidents such as these.

Greenwich Village

We have to remember Bill Deblaiso was voted in by a million voters, so that means that 7 million voters are trying to see what kind of man this is. His poor traffic decisions shows lack of integrity. Also fighting and disrespecting the media is a sure fire way to one term. His not apologizing shows arrogance and lack of compassion to the families of relatives who has been killed by motorists.

Shame on him.

Hi John,

This De Blasio is all talk and he does think that he is above the law. That’s the impression given by him. Why this sudden concern about safety [ VISION ZERO = TO BE SPECIFIC ] We the public have seen so many accidents of every kind which are to many to name. What I can’t understand is yes there are both sides to every story and one is that the pedestrian is to blame as well and they are called [JAY WALKERS] But every day on every radio and TV station the repetitious complaints about school crossings, speeding cars, bikes, taxi’s, ETC. and many complaints through our in-famous 311 call center as an example. But no one even responds from many if not all of the agencies and where are the politicians. I am speaking years of frustration about all of these incidents and the biggest = [RED FLAG] of all was the arrival of the CELL PHONES and they the politicians are still hemming and hawing about it while the public awaits a decision.



One good way of reducing accidents is to subject government officials to the same laws and punishments as applicable to civilians. It's not just Delahseo that needs regulating.

Port Richmond, SI

I think your previous caller Phill's rationalization machine is in overdrive.

There's no common sense behind his unscientific claim that a reduction in speed will cause more deaths by emphazima. There is, however, compelling data that lower traffic speeds reduce pedestrian deaths.

Jay, Sunnyside

Just wanted to say thank you for tonight's show on pedestrian safety in NYC. I really enjoyed it. And thanks for sharing that photo of the icy bus stop in Queens. Hopefully something can be done with it given the publicity you provided tonight. You are awesome!

Warmly Signed,

The solution is simple. Everybody respect the regulations. As a driver, I have to be aware of my surroundings, but pedestrians have to cross the streets on the marked crossways, respect traffic lights and stay on the sidewalk when they have no the right to cross. bicyclists should get a licence, a registration and license plate and they should be fined for crossing stop signs, red lights and for riding erratically getting in front of cars, riding in the center of the street. Another problem are people using the streets to run, people on skates or skateboards.


To make the streets safer bikers and pedestrians need to listen to the law. I see just as many of them willfully breaking the law. You jaywalk that's the same as driving the wrong way. Dont walk into oncoming traffic if you value your life.

Stephen from lic

NY is a blood sucking city. If you smoke your enemy #1 if you smoke and have a car or drive your #1 and 2. Don't people realize everyday we are giving up more of our liberties and freedoms. You have those transit guys that give out tickets running into each other. Tickets fines that's all they are interested in. I always loved Manhattan and lived here my whole life. Now if I had the money I would move. I know sooner or later you will have to register your bicycle more revenue for the city.


Enforcement shouldn't include beating old men into a bloody pulp.

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