New York is one of the most crowded cities in the US. Because space is at a premium and car ownership is extremely expensive, many residents don’t even own vehicles. But New York’s streets are just as dangerous as any other metropolitan city, complete with an alarming number of traffic deaths.
We’ve referenced Mayor Bill deBlasio’s Vision Zero plan many times. Today, we’ll discuss it a little more in-depth.
Vision Zero Defined
Initiated in 2014, the Mayor’s vision is to reduce traffic-related deaths on NYC streets to zero by 2024. Based on a similar program created in Sweden implemented in 1997, Vision Zero’s core theory is that traffic accidents and resulting deaths are attributable to flaws in street design.
Using available data, street design is being re-imagined and re-designed in order to make NYC streets safer and more available to everyone who uses them. From more pedestrian space to expanded dedicated bicycle lanes, the goal of Vision Zero is to ensure that everyone who travels on NYC streets, however they travel, can do so safely and without risking injury or death.
Foot travel is the most common way people get around in NYC, and there’s no way around it. Even if you take a bus or the subway, you’re still likely to have to walk somewhere.
Vision Zero includes initiatives to protect pedestrians, which includes re-coded traffic lights that give them a head start at crosswalks and more speed cameras installed around the city. “Pedestrian safety islands” and enhanced crossings offer a safe place to wait while crossing a street that goes in two directions, and the city is also adding more usable walking space to make it easier and more accessible.
The City continues to add more features that make foot travel safer and more amenable for everyone through its Borough Action Plan. WalkNYC also fills in the information gap of street navigation for pedestrians, including neighborhood maps located in subways.
Bicyclists were some of the hardest hit in 2019—literally. Of a total of 29 bicyclists that died in NYC, 28 were the result of motor vehicle accidents, and 25 were killed by larger vehicles such as trucks, SUVs and buses. A subset of 18 of those deaths occurred in Brooklyn. That’s triple the number of deaths the year before, and the highest number of cyclist deaths in the city since 1999.
Contrast that with the highest number of bicyclists ever, with nearly 500,000 trips taken citywide every day. (Source: DOT.)
In response, Mayor de Blasio has announced that in 2020, as part of the Green Wave plan, 30 miles of protected bicycle lanes will be created in the New York City area this year.
Four Wheels And More
Since its beginnings, New York City streets have been filled with all manner of vehicles, from the original horse-drawn carriages to modern-day limousines and 18-wheeler, with no signs of decreasing. With the advent of Uber and Lyft supplementing public and private transportation, including taxicabs, New York City has more drivers than ever.
Vision Zero is intended to allow everyone to share the road safely and prevent the needless death and destruction that road accidents can inflict. While Mayor de Blasio continues implementation, getting to zero traffic deaths in NYC will take time.
East Village’s Pedestrian Accident Law Firm
The Mayor’s realization for zero accident fatalities is still some months away, maybe even years. Until then, car accidents are still a regular occurrence. We can help you get the compensation you need if you’ve been injured in a New York City accident, whether you are a pedestrian, bicyclist or driver.
For over 25 years, Hoffmaier & Hoffmaier has been helping New Yorkers who have been hurt in an accident. Call us at (212) 777-9400 or contact us online, and we’ll talk to you about your case. Your first consultation is free. Our contingency fee basis means we don’t get paid unless we settle your case or win the trial.