Jan. 19, 2016 Staff Report
Mayor Bill de Blasio declared Vision Zero a success Tuesday, announcing that 2015 was the safest year for New York City roads on record.
De Blasio made the announcement alongside the DOT at Woodside’s Razi School on Queens Boulevard, a notoriously dangerous corridor that the City is redesigning with traffic calming measures and new bike lanes. He also announced $115 million in new funding for traffic safety efforts in 2016.
According to City statistics, 231 people lost their lives to traffic crashes in 2015, the fewest since record keeping began in 1910. This number also marks a 22 percent drop from 2013, before Vision Zero launched, and the first time in a decade that all traffic fatalities have declined in two consecutive years.
Pedestrian deaths this year fell 27 percent from 2013, to 134.
Furthermore, there were no fatalities on Queens Blvd in 2015, the first year in a quarter of a century without any deaths.
“We at DOT are extremely proud that 2015 was the safest year on record for pedestrians on New York City’s streets. However, we recognize that any fatalities mean we have more work to do,” DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg said.
“Vision Zero is working,” de Blasio said. “This progress is just the beginning, and Vision Zero is going to move ahead with even more intensity in the coming year.”
Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer spoke in praise of both the Queens Boulevard redesign and Vision Zero in general.
“This year, more children, more fathers, more mothers and brothers will join their families at home than last year because of Vision Zero initiatives like the redesigning of Queens Boulevard. The dynamic changes to streetscape and traffic calming have made our City a safer place to live, walk, cycle and drive than at any point in the last fifty years,” he said. “Our collective Vision Zero initiatives are saving lives.”
The $115 million in new funds will include $29.6 million for “area-wide improvements in Long Island City,” according to the Mayor’s office.
Officials did not respond to questions regarding what these improvements will entail as of press time. However, the DOT previously announced that a complete reconstruction of all streets bounded by 5th Street, 44th Drive, Jackson Avenue and Borden Avenue is in the works for improved pedestrian, vehicle and bike safety, as well as sewer system work.