Among the many Vision Zero initiatives to reduce deaths and injuries related to traffic accidents in New York, the city has installed pedestrians islands at dangerous locations. Last December, such islands were installed along Eastern Parkway in Brooklyn. The main objective of these pedestrians islands was to protect numerous children who were crossing the dangerous parkway every day to go to school. Eastern Parkway was identified as a priority corridor in the Vision Zero Brooklyn Pedestrian Safety Action Plan. Between 2009 and 2013 4 people died and 7 were severely injured in the Eastern Parkway segment between Grand Army Plaza and Ralph Avenue.
Last week a few days before the West Indian Day Parade, the New York City Department of Transportation destroyed the concrete medians at Kingston and Brooklyn Avenues. The destruction happened after the organizers of the West Indian Day Parade asked the DOT to do do this so the floats could navigate the road. When asked about it De Blasio said the islands were posing a parade safety hazard.
The destruction of public infrastructures that have taken residents and road safety advocates years to be installed is leaving people scratching their heads and wondering how serious de Blasio is about making the streets of New York City safer.
In an article Today in the New York Post, Nicole Gelinas, looks back at traffic fatality statistics. She notes that the decrease of traffic deaths observed during de Blasio two years in office has hit a wall. She seriously doubts that de Blasio’s promise to end traffic deaths by 2024 will ever be achieved, especially after a bloody summer like the one of 2016. During the months of June and July 46 people died in NYC traffic accidents up from 39 compared to the same period of the previous year. The NYC crash injury and death statistics for August are not out yet but during the last weeks of the month 6 people died in two days in traffic crashes. This is not auguring well for August numbers.
If de Blasio is really serious about Vision Zero he better prove it soon.