Mayor de Blasio Ups the Ante for Vision Zero
Yesterday, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that the city would increase its financial commitment to Vision Zero by about one-third, adding more than $400 million to a five-year budget that will now dedicate some $1.6 billion to improving the safety of city streets. He announced the new spending just steps from the notorious Brooklyn intersection of Flatbush and Atlantic Avenues, one of the city's deadliest – now slated for significant safety upgrades beginning this year.
About 80% of the new spending will be dedicated to the most important work – major street safety reconstruction. According to the city's press release, these capital dollars will fund...
...major street construction projects that often include full reconstruction of the roadbed, sidewalks and underlying infrastructure. These projects can completely realign complex intersections or provide permanent safety improvements like raised medians, while enhancing the livability of communities. These dollars represent a major long-term commitment to building out safer corridors and intersections for years to come.
But there's much more. The city will commit more than $25 million over several years to hire 100 full-time crossing guard supervisors and 200 part-time crossing guards, ensuring that all school crossing posts citywide will be staffed – with enough replacement guards to cover absences.
Another $70 million over five years will be dedicated to the faster replacement and refurbishment of street markings and crosswalks, shortening the current replacement cycle by 25% and making high-visibility crosswalks the standard citywide. Faded crosswalks and bike lanes have been the bane of many a street-safety advocate, and these funds will enable the striping of 15 million linear feet per year.
In addition, the budget increase will fund intersection upgrades along the city's bike network, left-turn traffic-calming measures at hundreds of intersections, more enhanced pedestrian crossings, brighter lighting at some 1,000 dangerous intersections, and a 50% increase in speed-detection equipment for the NYPD.
We commend Mayor de Blasio for this major step up in the city's commitment to Vision Zero – and the Council Members and fellow advocates who've pushed for this increased spending. One can't put a price tag on saved lives, but it's safe to say that this new funding will be well worth the cost.
StreetsPAC Testifies at City Council Committee on Transportation Vision Zero Hearing
Today, StreetsPAC is testifying at the City Council's Committee on Transportation oversight hearing on Vision Zero progress and needs.
We're praising the Mayor's announcement of his administration's major new commitment to Vision Zero spending, and urging the city to move quickly to turn these dollars into concrete street-safety projects. Vision Zero is predicated on the fact that human beings are fallible, but that the mistakes we all make while walking, biking or driving on city streets shouldn't lead to serious injury or death. Street redesign is key to allowing for that human error, and reengineering New York City's most dangerous streets should be our top priority in working toward Vision Zero.
You can read our full testimony here.
Thanks for Joining Us in Support of City Council Member Ben Kallos
We want to say a big "thank you" to those of you who came out two weeks ago to our fundraiser for Upper East Side Council Member Ben Kallos. Ben's has been an important voice for street-safety improvements in his Upper East Side district, most recently in the implementation of two pairs of crosstown bike lanes in the face of some vocal opposition (a prize to the first person who spots a bike lane in a Woody Allen film!).
Here's a photo from the event. Thanks for coming out!
StreetsPoll Results: It's Unanimous! Reflective Cane Decals ≠ Vision Zero!
Congratulations to Patrick Sullivan of Orange Park, Florida, the randomly selected winner of a StreetsPAC t-shirt from among participants in last week's StreetsPoll who subscribed to email updates.
Photo Credit: Mayor de Blasio/NYC DOT