Responding to a recent Streetsblog report on the deadly streets surrounding New York City’s school zones, Mayor Eric Adams recently said that his administration will “do more” to reduce the traffic violence in those areas, found to be dramatically higher than averages elsewhere in the city, particularly in the morning and afternoon hours when students come to school or head home. Per a new report by the publication, he said during a press conference in the Bronx last week that he will “look at that report, see what streets we’re talking about, and zero in on those streets.”
Noting that the Mayor did not get into specifics about what measures his administration would take, Streetsblog noted that he cited a number of existing initiatives, including plans to “retrofit 1,000 dangerous intersections,” expand the operation of speed cameras in school zones, and launch a media campaign designed to “educate children about street safety.” His vagueness stands in contrast to other officials and advocates Streetsblog has spoken with, like City Council Member Rita Joseph, who in a June interview expressed her support for car-free streets. She was not the only local official to call for the city to take more serious action to protect its students.
A number of other officials commented on the matter in a separate report earlier this month. A Bronx council member, for instance, said the city must “radically shift” its approach to traffic safety around schools. A Queens council member struck the same note, suggesting the city take additional calming measures in school zones and even “close more school streets to car traffic,” as in the Queens avenue where such a measure reduced crashes by 78% and injuries by 85% when the street was closed to cars.
In a statement to the publication, Transportation Alternatives executive director Danny Harris also argued for New York to make streets adjacent to schools car-free, saying: “When you remove cars, especially the unfettered access of cars, it eliminates the threat, and it makes the conditions safer for our most vulnerable.” He went on to suggest that city officials are placing the availability of traffic lanes and parking space above the lives of children.
More information on New York City lawmakers’ response to data showing higher rates of car crashes in the city’s school zones is available via Streetsblog.