Mayor Bill de Blasio announced this week that New York City had the fewest traffic fatalities on record this past year, leading to a 32 percent drop in pedestrian deaths. He noted that this marks the fourth consecutive year of declining traffic deaths and attributed the city’s safer streets to Vision Zero, a road-safety traffic project that aims to prevent traffic fatalities or injuries.
In 2017, a total of 214 people—101 of whom were pedestrians—died in traffic crashes as opposed to the 231 people—of whom 148 were pedestrians—who were killed the year before. De Blasio pointed out that the city’s reductions have bucked the national trend of an increase in traffic fatalities by 13 percent between 2013 and 2016.
We commend the mayor and the city’s Department of Transportation and Police Department for working together to make the city’s streets safer by lowering the speed limit where necessary, providing safer street designs and increasing enforcement. We agree with the mayor that “not even a single tragedy on our streets is acceptable” and hope that the city continues to push Vision Zero to enable the number of pedestrians killed by traffic to drop to even more-historic lows. In our borough, Queens Boulevard has long been referred to as “the boulevard of death” due to the number of people who have been struck by cars and killed while crossing that street—so, the city’s initiative to prevent such tragedies is long overdue.
New Yorkers—and Queens residents in particular—often rightfully complain about the city’s inability to combat burdensome traffic or the lack of upkeep to the borough’s roadways, which are frequently filled with potholes around this time of year. There is also plenty of room for improvement in regard to some of the city’s transportation initiatives—such as the rollout of Select Bus Service (SBS) or the mishandling by both the state and city of New York City’s subway system.
But Vision Zero is an example of a successful initiative that is keeping our streets safer. Credit should be given where it is due—in this case, the mayor, DOT and NYPD deserve a round of applause.