Although 2014 brought New York the fewest number of pedestrian deaths in over 100 years, one lawmaker says Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Vision Zero plan is doing “nothing” to keep the streets safe for pedestrians, DNAinfo reports. Queens Assemblyman Michael DenDekker has requested an audit of the expansive program, which has decreased the city-wide speed limit to 25 MPH, established 27 new slow zones, installed more speed cameras and medians, and seen a drastic increases in summonses for failure to yield to pedestrians. He also wants the city to install city-wide “pedestrian first” traffic lights that present a separate signals to pedestrians at intersections.
“It is absolutely ridiculous in this day and age to think that cars and pedestrians can have green lights at the same time,” DenDekker told DNAinfo. Though unsure of the cost to implement a new traffic light system, he wants to know how much Vision Zero — the ambitious plan that aims to bring traffic-related casualties to zero — has cost thus far. “How much are you spending now on bike lanes and other traffic calming effects like putting medians in and doing slow zones and all the other stuff you are spending money on?” he asked
The impetus for DenDekker’s plan comes from two separate incidents in 2012 and 2013 in which trucks turned onto Northern Boulevard and hit two children, killing them. “All of the stuff that Vision Zero has done would not have done anything to save the two children that got killed on Northern Boulevard,” he said.
A mayor’s spokesperson responded to the criticism:
“Vision Zero is more than any one tool — it’s a combined approach that uses enforcement, education and engineering to make our streets safer,” said spokesman Wiley Norvell.
“Northern Boulevard is no exception, which is why among many changes made to the roadway, the DOT added refuge medians for pedestrians and banned dangerous vehicle turns last year.”
Meanwhile, City Comptroller Scott Stringer’s Office has not responded to DenDekker’s audit request.
(Photo: Dave Kliman)