Families Coalesce to Push Beyond De Blasio's 'Vision Zero' Plan

Sunday, February 23, 2014 - 08:42 PM

Families members of people who have been killed or injured in collisions on city streets have come together to demand an end to traffic fatalities. They want Mayor Bill de Blasio's administration to strengthen its recently announced plan to eliminate street fatalities.

"Families for Safe Streets," which is supported by the advocacy group Transportation Alternatives, gathered on the steps of City Hall Sunday to call for annual benchmarks with death and injury reduction goals from each agency in Mayor de Blasio's "Vision Zero" task force.

Mayor de Blasio unveiled "Vision Zero" earlier this month. Its 63 recommendations, which he intends to implement within 10 years, can be roughly broken down into three categories: enforcement, education, and engineering.

At Sunday's rally six people spoke about a loved one who was killed in New York City traffic.

Amy Cohen's 12 year-old-son Sammy was killed by a van on a Brooklyn street last fall. She thanked Mayor de Blasio for his Vision Zero plan, but urged him to speed up the timetable. "We demand rapid implementation of Vision Zero because, as you heard from these stories, ten years is too long to wait," Cohen said.

Dana Lerner's 9-year-old son Cooper Stock was killed last month by a cab that was turning on the Upper West Side.

Lerner wants the state to temporarily suspend the licenses of cab drivers involved in fatal collisions, including the one at the wheel when her son died. "This driver is legally allowed to drive a taxi. In fact, you could hail a cab right now and the driver could be the man who killed my son," Lerner said.

The City Council will hold its first hearing on Mayor de Blasio's Vision Zero plan Monday morning.


Julianne Welby


Comments [9]

Greenfield from United States

The laws should be changed allowing for police to bring charges against drivers of vehicles who cause serious injury and death to pedestrians (that is including cars, trucks,vans, motorbikes, bicycles, pedicabs, horse-carriages...the whole lot). One unified code is easier to enforce.

Also...make it illegal to jaywalk in NYC. It is illegal in some US cities and in many European cities.

Install audible signals indicating when pedestrians can cross and when vehicles can turn (keep times for each separate from the other) This is currently available only on a few big streets in Manhattan

Minivans, buses and truck should be retrofitted with audible signals indicating a turn (similar to the audible signal for reversing on some trucks). Make it really loud so people in crosswalk will be alerted.

Mar. 06 2015 12:55 PM
Chang from NYC

Please stop before crossing and watch both ways. And you will be fine.

Mar. 06 2014 11:40 PM
Ronit Bacher from Tribeca

Sorry, Tal, but the statistics are actually the opposite of what you say, and studies show that lower speeds will in fact save lives. "Flouting the law" is actually what majority of motorists are now doing. I see them speed, use handheld devices, muscle their way in front of pedestrians, etc. Lower speed limit is not a punishment to drivers - except those drivers who are impatient and should not be on our roads to begin with!

Joyauto, you are correct, it should be treated like a crime with full investigation and all. However, no driver believes his reckless driving will kill until it happens. Then it's too late, unfortunately. Stopping dangerous driving with enforcement before something bad happens is key.

Mar. 02 2014 12:11 AM
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY

Reducing the speed limits will do nothing to improve safety just as long it's hardly enforced now, and that cyclists and pedestrians continue to flout the laws. In reality, reducing the speed limits will mostly punish the law abiding motorists. Looking at that picture, this is just another PR stunt by Transportation Alternatives, who is known for having a personal bias against cars, just to promote their agenda. If you asked me, those families are just being exploited while Paul Steely White probably couldn't care less about them. Let's not forget that even if all motorists were obeying the speed limit, you still have all those pedestrians and cyclists that hardly follow the laws themselves, which gives them no moral legitimacy to all others what to do. Also, if some bothered to look at the cause of the accidents rather than the effects, they might notice that the motorist wasn't solely responsible for their actions. For the record, I do give my condolences for those who got hit, but this doesn't mean that a group as a whole must suffer just because of the actions of a few.

Feb. 26 2014 11:24 AM
Marie from Manhattan

Give the police department's traffic patrol the right to enforce the laws. Cars run red lights or speed past them when they are trying to direct traffic. Pedestrians ignore don't walk signs. Make use of the current staff and let them impose fines.

Feb. 24 2014 05:33 PM
Mary from Queens

I am my brother's keeper. It is reasonable and correct to lower speed limits in residential areas and on roads with high pedestrian usage. A person of any size is no match for a ton+ of steel going 30 mph. More than likely when the speed limit is 30, the driver is going 35-40. Our need for speed, our hurry, and our multi-tasking contribute to us putting aside our attention to safety. Why the rush if the risk is causing harm to a person or being responsible for his/her death? Education is equally important but we also need to get back to seeing each other as people rather than obstacles that get in our way of getting to our destination.

Feb. 24 2014 02:20 PM
Marina from New York

Again, an excessive reaction. It isn't the speed; it is the awful driving habits and ridiculous penalties for such accidents. Killing someone using a car is vehicular manslaughter and should be treated as such with the maximum penalties involved including revoking the license.It is a different thing if a car/driver has a real problem and somehow jumps a curb; all the circumstances need to be taken into consideration. But killing someone in a crosswalk where pedestrians have THE RIGHT OF WAY is inexcusable. And by the way, how about fining people who cross the street while texting (hence their heads are buried in the screen) or talking on their phones (hence their attention is totally distracted?) Drivers are not allowed to talk on handheld devices while they drive; pedestrians should have tickets for talking while walking on road pavements.I am both a driver and a pedestrian. It drives me crazy how New Yorkers play chicken with a lethal weapon and likewise, how bad drivers play Road Kill with vulnerable people. Co-existence is the mantra of city life; lowering an already very reasonable speed limit is absurd. How about enforcement of an already existing norm?

Feb. 24 2014 12:56 PM
Tina from East Harlem.

So true. I just wrote his office yesterday saying the plan isn't tough enough. Not only should these licenses be revoked and the drivers taken to court, 18 wheelers should not be allowed in the City. As if I was being heard, soon as I walked outside, an 18 wheeler was seen trying to turn right onto 117th St from Lexington--a near impossibility that took 10 minutes! Why on earth is this legal? These trucks kill our children as our streets were not designed for them. I've got photos of this absurd attempt last night.

So glad WNYC is reporting on this.

Feb. 24 2014 11:21 AM

Vision Zero is smoke and mirrors. The only way to make our streets safe is to make it illegal to kill with a car/truck/bus/whatever. Send a message that killer drivers will be charged with a crime and sent to jail along with license revocation. But it will never happen because politicians aren't really interested in safety. There's too much money to be made from crashes. Some people go to work depending on crashes. And the State and City get a cut from their income via taxes.

Feb. 24 2014 09:13 AM

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