Twenty-five people were killed in road violence incidents in New York City last month, in what StreetsBlog describes as “the deadliest April since Mayor de Blasio took office in 2014,” during “the second deadliest year for road violence” during his administration. The statistics, outlined in data released by think take Transportation Alternatives, cast a grim pall over the city’s Vision Zero program.
The data released by Transportation Alternatives reveal that “70 New Yorkers were killed in traffic violence” during the first four months of 2021; that 43 pedestrians have been killed in 2021; and that the most deaths have occurred in Brooklyn, where 24 people were killed in road violence, and Staten Island, where seven people were killed.
Bill de Blasio has been in office for seven years, StreetsBlog notes, but “has never made Vision Zero a central focus of his administration.” A plan to reduce road violence deaths in 2019 was criticized by street safety advocates for doing too little, and road violence increased during the Covid-19 pandemic as the streets cleared and reckless driving rose.
In a statement about the data it released, Transportation Alternatives harshly criticized the de Blasio administration. “Since Mayor de Blasio took office, more than 1,000 pedestrians and cyclists have been killed on his streets – despite the City having both data about where crashes occur and the proven tools to address traffic violence,” said the organization’s executive director. “y withholding these tools, especially to communities most in need, Mayor de Blasio continues to prioritize the convenience of drivers over protecting human life. In his remaining time in office, he must put people, not cars, first on our streets, especially as New York City reopens.”
Transportation Alternatives called on the mayor to fast-track street redesigns on “key corridors” across the city, including Queens Boulevard, Northern Boulevard, and the Grand Concourse; to “build permanent infrastructure that physically separates Open Streets from cars and creates more car-free spaces”; and to direct funding for the construction of 50 miles of protected bike lines and 30 miles of bus lanes. The group also called on the state legislature to pass the Crash Victim Rights and Safety Act, which contains eight bills designed to decrease road violence in New York.