In 2014, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced a new program called Vision Zero. The purpose of the program was to completely eliminate traffic deaths and serious injuries by 2024. Five years later, some people doubt that this bold promise is everything it was meant to be.
The Vision Zero Program
As part of the Vision Zero program, the City put a number of new policies into place. One of the first steps that were taken was lowering the speed limit citywide from 30 mph to 25 mph. There has also been an increase in enforcement of traffic laws and strict enforcement on taxi drivers. It also involved the increased use of speed cameras and the quicker repair of broken traffic signals. Increased safety for pedestrians, such as countdown timers and making failure to yield to a pedestrian a crime, have also been implemented. The City has also focused on redesigning some of the more dangerous intersections across the boroughs.
In the wake of a spate of bicyclist deaths this year, the City has now turned much of its focus on making the streets safer for bicycles. The addition of hundreds of miles of bike lanes is intended to keep cyclists safe and teach drivers to respect cyclists. In addition, stricter enforcement of laws that protect bicyclists has also been implemented. This is important, given that bicycle ridership in the City has increased by 26%.
While traffic deaths have fallen 30% over the last five years, this is not enough to reach the 2024 goal in the next five years. More attention must be focused on not only enforcing traffic laws, but in making the streets safer for cars, pedestrians, and cyclists. Many feel that changes are simply not coming fast enough. In addition, the City hasn’t addressed the fact that the streets were designed for cars without the safety of cyclists and pedestrians in mind.
Given that there are only five years until the promised date of zero fatalities, the City should be operating with a greater sense of urgency. Streets should be redesigned to be safer, but this is not happening fast enough. There is also a need to simply change the culture around who uses the streets. Greater focus on pedestrian and bicycle safety is essential for creating a safer city and reaching the goals of Vision Zero.
Contact a New York Accident Attorney
If you’ve been injured in an accident on a New York City street, you need an experienced accident attorney on your side. At Bonina & Bonina, P.C., we have 50 years of experience helping injured New Yorkers. Contact us online or call us at 1-888-MEDLAW1 to schedule your free consultation. Home and hospital visits are available. Se habla español.