New York City has one of the highest rates of traffic fatalities and serious injury in America and in the World. When looking at deaths only, NYC has a lower rate of traffic fatalities than its American peer cities. However when compared to other international cities such as Hong Kong, London or Stockholm, New York is still lagging behind.
It is time for New York to improve these numbers! The NYC Department of Transportation just released its Strategic Plan 2016. A lot of focus is being directed to traffic safety and protection of bicyclists and pedestrians but is it enough?
Vision Zero continues to be the main program in terms of safety. The goals of the strategic plan 2016 is to integrate the program across all agencies and to improve data and analytics related to Vision Zero objectives. Street engineering is planned to continue in every boroughs, on high crash arterial roads and on roads to schools or near senior centers. The campaigns of awareness and education will continue. Among the new initiatives, the DOT will focus on evaluating left turn safety plans and implement recommendations from a previous study on bicycle fatalities and injuries. The DOT will also try to expand the speed camera enforcement which has proven to be very successful. The DOT will also push for mandatory seatbelt use, tougher regulation for drugs while driving, better data sharing with The NYPD in regards to crashes and work on new technologies to reduce crashes.
In regards to mobility, the number one priority of the DOT is to increase travel by walking, bicycling and bus transit to reduce traffic congestion. The DOT will continue to make the streets safer for pedestrians and to expand the bike routes around the city as well as the bike accesses to and on bridges. Among the new initiatives the DOT plans to revamp the bike and pedestrian promenade on the Brooklyn Bridge. The East Harlem and Harlem River Greenway will also be improved and further developed. Secure bike parking will be added across the fives boroughs. Bike access will be improved in residential and commercial buildings. The DOT will also focus on collecting better data on New Yorkers’ bicycling habits.
In terms of pedestrian and public safety, the NYC Plaza program will continue with additional plaza and street furniture. Programs to temporarily open streets to the public are also expected to continue to expand.
The DOT is also committed to reducing green gas emission and is continuing to work and develop initiatives related to that matter.