New York

Vision Zero Reaches Milestone as NYC Traffic Deaths Hit Record Low

In a milestone for Mayor de Blasio’s Vision Zero initiative, the number of traffic-related deaths in New York City has dropped to a record low in the past six months, the city reported.

There were 93 traffic-related deaths (pedestrians, vehicle occupants, cyclists) in the city over the past six months, according to the Department of Transportation. The drop is consistent with a steady decline in traffic-related deaths over the last two years—a decline of about 16 percent. The count has dropped from 251 in 2015, to 241 in 2016, and 210 this past year.

Queens has seen the greatest decrease in traffic-related deaths within the past year: from 32 in 2016 to 23 this year, approximately a 28 percent drop.

Manhattan’s traffic-related death count has gone from 26 to 20, a 23 percent drop. And Staten Island’s number went from 11 to 5 over the past year, a 54 percent drop.

DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg said the city has taken measures to improve safety in the streets.

“We have lowered the speed limit to 25 mph and we’ve started deploying speed cameras in school zones,” she said.

Still, some residents want to reduce the number even further — the most optimistic would like the number of traffic-related deaths to hit zero.

“We have made steps forward, and that is great, but there is still so much more to do,” Amy Cohen said.

Cohen lost her 12-year-old son Sammy when he was hit by a van while chasing a ball in 2013.

Despite the overall decline in deaths in New York, Cohen has been working tirelessly to drive the number to zero.

“Ninety-three deaths means 93 people like Sammy,” she said.

Cohen wants more action from Albany, where the state legislature failed to pass a movement for more speed cameras in school zones this year.

Trotteberg vowed to remain an advocate for safer streets. She said she will continue pushing Albany to add speed cameras and more protective bike lanes.

While the city’s streets have gotten safer for pedestrians, navigating intersections has still proven to be a precarious endeavor. At one of the city’s most dangerous intersections — where Fourth and Atlantic avenues converge in downtown Brooklyn — there have been 11 traffic-related injuries so far this year.

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