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Posts from the Bill de Blasio Category

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City Hall Puts NYPD’s TrafficStat Crash-Mapping Tool Online

The NYPD is making its "TrafficStat" tool available to the public. Image: NYPD

The NYPD is making its TrafficStat crash-mapping tool available to the public, but data on where police issue traffic summonses is still not available. Image: NYPD

Mayor de Blasio and Police Commissioner James O’Neill announced today that the city will make “TrafficStat,” NYPD’s tool for mapping and analyzing traffic collision data, available online to the public. It’s an improvement over the city’s existing crash-mapping tool but lacks one very important type of information — data about where police are enforcing traffic laws.

The TrafficStat site enables users to track crashes by location, going a few steps further than the city’s existing Vision Zero View tool. Collisions can be broken down by type, contributing factor, day of the week, hour of the day, precinct, and patrol borough. The data was previously available on NYC’s open data portal, but the TrafficStat site puts it in an easy-to-view format.

The site will also be updated more frequently than Vision Zero View — once a week on Tuesdays, as opposed to once a month.

Since the late 1990s, NYPD has used TrafficStat to guide traffic enforcement efforts. City officials said today that they want the public to see the role that TrafficStat plays in the mayor’s Vision Zero initiative.

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De Blasio: Street Safety Advocates Not “Looking at the Facts”

On Monday Mayor Bill de Blasio managed to dismiss very real concerns about Vision Zero progress and the work street safety advocates are doing to stem the bloodshed and grief caused by traffic violence, all in one sentence.

When Politico reporter Laura Nahmias asked about New Yorkers who are holding him to his own administration’s Vision Zero goals, de Blasio reportedly replied: “I think sometimes they’re trying to justify their own role without looking at the facts.”

Here are some facts. The pressure exerted on de Blasio by safety advocates intensified after Queens motorists killed a teenage girl on her way to school and an infant in a stroller on a sidewalk in separate crashes that occurred within a span of five days.

With a few weeks left in the year, the number of people killed and injured by NYC motorists is higher than it was at the same point in 2015. With the city’s street safety record taking a step backward in 2016, advocates have a responsibility to call out de Blasio’s complacency.

Last week de Blasio implied he is fully funding Vision Zero street redesigns. But rather than ramp up funding, he has actually allowed it to stagnate, putting the completion of priority safety projects — those identified by DOT as the most critical to reducing injuries and deaths — well beyond Vision Zero’s 10-year timetable.

De Blasio deserves credit for initiating Vision Zero and backing it up with new laws and street designs. That early momentum is flagging, and it looks like advocates need to turn up the pressure on the mayor to get it back.

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De Blasio Says He’s Fully Funding Vision Zero Priority Projects. He Isn’t.

Despite what Mayor de Blasio says, NYC is not funding street redesigns at the rate prescribed by Vision Zero.

Despite what Mayor de Blasio says, NYC is not funding street redesigns at the rate prescribed by Vision Zero. Image: Transportation Alternatives

On his weekly Brian Lehrer show appearance this morning, Mayor de Blasio said the city is fully funding Vision Zero street redesigns. The numbers tell a different story.

During the Q&A segment, Families for Safe Streets member Mary Beth Kelly told de Blasio 204 people walking and biking have been killed by drivers on Vision Zero priority corridors since January 2015, and that only a fourth of those corridors have received redesign treatments. Kelly asked the mayor to commit to speeding up funding for Vision Zero priority projects.

Here is de Blasio’s response in full:

I appreciate the question very much and I appreciate the work that you do and your colleagues do because it’s been decisive to Vision Zero, particularly in terms of the fights you’ve waged in Albany to get us things like the speed cameras around schools. And we want to do even more of that, and I’m very hopeful there is a Democratic Senate. There’ll be a willingness to go farther with us in protecting kids and seniors and implementing Vision Zero.

We are very aggressively moving those safety redesign efforts. There’s no lack of funding, and there’s no lack of will. And you know Queens Boulevard is a huge example of this, a place we used call the ‘Boulevard of Death’ and thank god we have not fatalities the last two years because we’re doing redesign, because of bike lanes, because of the reduction in speed limit, because we’re enforcing the speed limit with the NYPD. So we’re very, very adamant about moving these as quickly as possible. I’ll talk to Commissioner Trottenberg to see if there’s anything else that she needs to continue to speed things up, but she’s gotten the order from me to do everything as quickly as humanly possible.

We will also be doing more enforcement. The NYPD is continuing to ratchet up enforcement on speeding and on failure to yield, and you’re going to see more checkpoints as well to inhibit drunk driving. So there’s a lot of Vision Zero pieces that are going to be growing, and the redesigns are absolutely a priority.

Budget figures don’t back up the mayor’s claims. As Streetsblog has reported, last spring Transportation Alternatives found that at the current rate of funding it will take almost 40 years to redesign the priority corridors identified in the DOT’s pedestrian safety action plans — a timetable that stretches decades beyond the Vision Zero goal of eliminating traffic deaths by 2024.

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Advocates Call on Mayor to Fund Safe Streets After the Loss of Two Children

Families for Safe Streets' Sufio Russo speaking outside City Hall last night. Photo: David Meyer

Families for Safe Streets’ Sofia Russo speaking outside City Hall last night. Photo: David Meyer

In the wake of two fatal crashes that claimed the lives of children in Queens last week, members of Transportation Alternatives and Families for Safe Streets gathered on the steps of City Hall yesterday evening to call on Mayor de Blasio to increase funding for life-saving street redesigns.

Traffic deaths in NYC are rising this year after declining the first two years of de Blasio’s term. “Vision Zero is off course,” said TA Executive Director Paul Steely White. “It’s just heartbraking to see the numbers creep back up again.”

In Ozone Park last Monday, a motorist killed 13-year-old Jazmine Marin as she crossed Cross Bay Boulevard with a friend on their way to school. Four days later, an unlicensed van driver backed into and killed 8-month-old Navraj Raju as his mother pushed him in a stroller on an Astoria Boulevard sidewalk.

Both fatalities happened in areas identified by DOT as priorities for Vision Zero street redesigns. According to TA, two-thirds of all traffic deaths since the beginning of 2015 have occurred in Vision Zero priority areas.

“The two kids who died last week died on streets that the mayor has already identified as dangerous, but the mayor has not fixed,” White said. “To identify dangerous streets and not fund fixes on those streets — that is not Vision Zero.”

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Tonight: Parents Call on de Blasio to Increase Funding for Safer Streets

Jazmine Marin, 13, and Navraj Raju, eight months, were killed by motorists in separate crashes in Queens last week.

Jazmine Marin, 13, and Navraj Raju, eight months, were killed by motorists in separate crashes in Queens last week.

Prompted by the recent deaths of two children at the hands of reckless drivers, Transportation Alternatives and Families for Safe Streets will lead a protest at City Hall this evening to call on Mayor de Blasio to accelerate the pace of life-saving street redesigns.

Last Monday, October 24, a motorist in a muscle car hit two teenage girls as they walked to school on Cross Bay Boulevard in Ozone Park, killing 13-year-old Jazmine Marin. On Friday an unlicensed van driver ran over 8-month-old Navraj Raju as his mother pushed him in a stroller on an Astoria Boulevard sidewalk. The first driver faces no charges or traffic violations, the second was charged with unlicensed operation — a low-level misdemeanor — but not for taking a life.

Cross Bay Boulevard is a Vision Zero priority corridor. According to TA, two-thirds of all traffic fatalities since the beginning of 2015 have occurred at locations identified by DOT as in urgent need of safety fixes. But de Blasio denied the City Council’s request to increase DOT funding for street improvements in the latest budget.

“It’s devastating to hear that another parent has lost a child in another sidewalk crash that could have been prevented,” said Sofia Russo, whose 4-year-old daughter Ariel was killed by a curb-jumping driver in Manhattan in 2013, in a statement. “The sidewalk should be sacred space. This is not Vision Zero. If the City is going to reach its goal, Mayor de Blasio has to dedicate real resources to fix the most dangerous streets in every community, and tell the public when those safety improvements are expected to be complete.”

Tonight’s event will begin on the City Hall steps at 6 p.m.

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DOT Can’t Control the Seasons, But de Blasio Can Fund Safer Street Designs

Let's design streets to be safe even during the most dangerous times of year. Chart: DOT

Let’s design streets to be safe even during the most dangerous times of year. Chart: DOT

Today DOT announced a “dusk and darkness” traffic enforcement and education campaign to reduce pedestrian injuries and deaths during fall and winter, when fatal crashes tend to be more frequent.

“As the days get shorter and the weather colder, crashes on our streets involving pedestrians increase — and so we are enlisting data-driven strategies to address that upturn,” Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg said in a statement. “Through education and enforcement with our sister agencies, every driver needs to learn about the limited visibility of this season and the dangers of fast turns, especially in the evening hours.”

Trottenberg cited the redesigned approach to the Manhattan Bridge as a project that will “make crossing our busiest streets safer for everybody,” but that project is independent of the new seasonal safety campaign.

There’s nothing wrong with drawing attention to the fact that streets are more dangerous this time of year, but it’s no substitute for street designs that make walking safer year-round.

“’Let’s all try to be more careful’ doesn’t really work,” Transportation Alternatives Executive Director Paul White told Streetsblog. “That’s a pre-Vision Zero approach.”

Severe crashes that harm pedestrians increase by almost 40 percent on fall and winter evenings compared to other seasons, according to DOT. In the coming weeks, NYPD will step up police presence and enforcement of dangerous driving behaviors “around sunset hours when data show serious pedestrian crashes increase,” according to a DOT press release. NYPD will also conduct targeted enforcement at intersections with high rates of pedestrian injuries and deaths.

In addition, NYPD and DOT will “educate drivers and other New Yorkers at high-priority Vision Zero target areas” by distributing palm cards, the press release says, some of which will remind motorists that they’re required to yield to pedestrians while making left turns.

Senior centers have already received materials on “improving safety conditions in their neighborhoods and sharing tips for getting around safely,” according to DOT. The Times reported that the city will spend $1.5 million on the campaign.

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NYC Needs Huge Growth in Cycling to Reach de Blasio’s Climate Goals

Mayor de Blasio wants NYC on track to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent by 2050, but reducing transportation-related emissions won’t be possible without a significant mode shift away from private vehicles.

Transportation accounts for more than a quarter of citywide greenhouse emissions, and a whopping 92 percent of that comes from cars and trucks. Reducing the number of cars on the streets is essential to the mayor’s emissions goals, according to the “Roadmap to 80 x 50” report released this week by the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability [PDF].

Mayor de Blasio's climate change plan relies on a dramatic increase in in-city bike trips. Image: Mayor's Office of Sustainability

Mayor de Blasio’s climate change plan relies on a dramatic increase in in-city bike trips. Image: NYC Mayor’s Office of Sustainability

The report proposes a decrease in the percentage of trips in private vehicles to 12 percent from the current 31 percent. Bikes would play an essential role in the shift, increasing from a 1 percent to 10 percent share of total trips — as would buses and trains, which today account for only eight percent of total citywide emissions.

Earlier this month, DOT released a blueprint for increasing bike mode share in its five-year strategic plan, which includes protected bike lanes and a five-borough Citi Bike system. The Office of Sustainability report also acknowledges that the city has a long way to go before cycling is an accessible transportation option in many parts of NYC.

“Despite the rapid growth in the city’s bicycle network, there are still many areas that lack sufficient bike connections,” the report says. “In addition to planned expansions, the City will emphasize an all-ages and abilities core network of protected bike lanes throughout the five boroughs, and the build-out of key connectors linking neighborhoods to transit hubs.”

The “Roadmap” report also assumes an increase in bus ridership — which the slate of reforms proposed by the NYC Bus Turnaround Campaign could help make possible.

The report highlights the public health effects of high emissions. Fine particulate matter, or PM2.5, released by vehicles causes 320 premature deaths and 870 emergency room visits each year, according to the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.

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De Blasio Signs Right of Way and Bike Access Bills

Today's legislation ensures that pedestrians who enter a crosswalk during the flashing “Pedestrian Change Interval” have the right of way under New York City law. Image: DOT

The new law ensures that pedestrians who enter a crosswalk during the flashing “Pedestrian Change Interval” have the right of way under New York City law. Image: DOT

Following unanimous City Council votes earlier this month, Mayor de Blasio signed several bills yesterday with important implications for walking and biking in NYC.

Public Advocate Letitia James’ Intro 997-A, now known as Local Law 115, amends the legal definition of pedestrians’ right of way so anyone who steps off the curb during the flashing “Don’t Walk” phase has the protection of the law.

Without the legislation, district attorneys and NYPD had declined to charge many motorists who struck people in crosswalks, citing a passage in the city’s traffic rules that said “no pedestrian shall enter or cross the roadway during the flashing ‘Don’t Walk’ phase.”

“By passing this law, we are taking a common-sense step toward protecting pedestrians and making New York’s streets safer,” James said in a statement. The new rule goes into effect on December 27, 90 days after the signing.

At the same ceremony, de Blasio also signed three bills enhancing bike access to commercial and residential buildings.

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Tell CB 6 and Mayor de Blasio That Bike-Share Belongs on Brooklyn Streets

Last week a bunch of people showed up at a Brooklyn Community Board 6 meeting to complain about Citi Bike, which has recently expanded into Park Slope, Carroll Gardens, Cobble Hill, Gowanus, and Red Hook. Bike-share wasn’t on the agenda, but that didn’t stop one hothead from screaming in the faces of board members about the perceived threat to free on-street car parking.

It’s the same old story: People believe they are entitled to park for free on public streets, and anything that diminishes the quantity of free on-street parking is infringing on their “rights.”

You can add your name to a petition to remind officials that bike-share is a welcome transportation option for New Yorkers who live, work, and play in those neighborhoods — most of whom don’t own cars. Posted by “Citizens for Citi Bike,” the petition will be sent to CB 6, Council Member Brad Lander, Borough President Eric Adams, and DOT.

It might be a good idea to send it to City Hall as well. Asked by WNBC’s Chuck Scarborough last Friday why bike-share docks are “taking precious parking” in Brooklyn, Mayor de Blasio minced words:

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People on Bikes Take Over Fifth Ave to Demand Safe Streets From de Blasio

NIGRORideForSaferStreets9152016_CAM7148

Photo: Michael Nigro. (You can follow him on Instagram and Twitter: @nigrotime.)

New Yorkers on bikes took over Fifth Avenue yesterday evening to demand stronger action from Mayor de Blasio to implement life-saving street redesigns essential to achieving his goal of zero traffic deaths by 2024. Organizers estimate that more than a thousand people participated.

As they rode from Grand Army Plaza at 59th Street to Washington Square Park, demonstrators from across the five boroughs chanted “Safe streets now!” and “We are traffic!” The full procession stretched for blocks, clocking in at over four minutes from the vanguard to the tail.

Before the ride, Transportation Alternatives Executive Director Paul Steely White called on the mayor to “fund and fast-track” safety improvements for walking and biking at the hundreds of dangerous streets and intersections identified by DOT in its Vision Zero action plans.

The reduction of traffic deaths in NYC has stalled this year, and more people on bikes were killed in traffic in the first eight months of 2016 than all of 2015. “We are here to say that Vision Zero, to be real, must be funded,” White said. “[People] are dying because of bad design that the mayor’s not fixing.”

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