Bill de Blasio has an audacious goal for traffic safety in New York City. In ten years, according to a statement on the incoming mayor’s official campaign site, New York could and should be free of any fatalities or serious injuries caused by automobile crashes. His campaign calls it “Vision Zero”:
The City must take decisive and sustained action to reduce street fatalities each year until we have achieved “Vision Zero” – a city with zero fatalities or serious injuries caused by car crashes on the streets of New York.
In Chicago, City officials have set a goal to eliminate all pedestrian, bicyclist and motorist traffic fatalities within ten years. In New York, we can do the same. What we need is a bold, comprehensive approach that balances smart design choices, sweeping expansion of 20-mph “slow zones,” expanded enforcement of reckless driving like speeding and failure to yield to pedestrians, and a camera-based deterrent and enforcement system that is free from Albany politics.
To hold him to that claim, the safe streets direct action group Right of Way created the Vision Zero Clock, a website that tracks traffic deaths in the city and shows whether de Blasio is on track to achieve “Vision Zero” by 2024. Assuming progress is made steadily, each year needs 10 percent fewer fatalities than the year before to stay on schedule.
“Achieving Vision Zero by 2024 demands decisive action starting on Day 1,” Right of Way’s Keegan Stephan said in a statement. “There will obviously be many competing interests for de Blasio’s attention when he takes office, but with people of all ages being killed in traffic across the 5 boroughs nearly every single day, Vision Zero must remain a top priority. Mayor de Blasio must take every step possible to achieve it.”
128 people died in traffic this year. “Vision Zero” is a lofty goal, but Stephan believes it isn’t an unreasonable one. “Honestly, we are going easy on de Blasio by only asking that he reduce fatalities by 10 percent this first year to be on course for ‘Vision Zero’ by 2024,” he told ANIMAL. “Because in reality the vast majority of these lives can be saved with proper infrastructure and enforcement. It is the handful of completely unusual circumstances such as intentional vehicular murder and high speed chases that will be hardest to eliminate.”
“We know the exact causes of these deaths and we know how to prevent them,” he added. “All it will take is strong political will from de Blasio to get legislation passed, fix dangerous corridors with complete street redesigns, and make the NYPD enforce life-saving traffic laws.”