On 1st Anniversary of Vision Zero, Progress at Dangerous Intersections

On the first anniversary of New York City's Vision Zero, officials say they are learning new lessons beyond the well-publicized lowering of the citywide speed limit to 25 mph. 

The plan to make streets safer for pedestrians and drivers was introduced by Mayor de Blasio on Feb. 18, 2014, and is modeled after a Swedish traffic study that suggests that all traffic deaths can be prevented.

Since then, in addition to lowering the speed limit, more red light and speed enforcement cameras have been installed, and more police officers detailed to traffic enforcement. 

The result: "We had the lowest number of pedestrian fatalities in recorded history for the city," said city Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg.

The difference is tangible at Houston Street and Sixth Avenue, long one of the city's most dangerous intersections, where artist Jessica Dworkin was killed by a truck two years ago. 

"It was, for many people, a frightening intersection," said Robert Blodgett of the Neighborhood Block Association there. 

Today there are bell-shaped barriers, curb extensions and other safety changes.

And since last year, officials also say they've learned that half of all serious accidents in Manhattan happened on just 11 percent of the streets. So the Department of Transportation wants to make crossing safer at places like Broadway and Columbus near Lincoln Center, where there are no crosswalks and plenty of jaywalkers. 

Just a few blocks north, six people were killed crossing the street in 2014, including young Cooper Stock right around the time Vision Zero was starting out. 

"I do live on the Upper West Side and remember when all the tragedies took place; we really couldn't believe such horror," said Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer. 

City officials said progress at Houston and Sixth proves that Vision Zero is headed in the right direction, and are hopeful for similar results at Broadway and Columbus. 

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