Streams

Mayor de Blasio: Traffic Fatalities "A Huge Public Safety Problem"

Thursday, January 02, 2014 - 05:05 PM

WNYC
Police Commissioner Bill Bratton with Mayor Bill de Blasio (Spencer Platt/Getty)

In his first working day in office, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said his administration would "focus a lot of energy" on reducing traffic fatalities, calling the issue "a huge public safety issue." His remarks came at the swearing in of his Police Commissioner, Bill Bratton.

In a long and rambling news conference that focused on, among other things, terrorism, stop-and-frisk, gang violence, and above all snow, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio raised the issue of traffic safety after twenty five minutes, without a prompting question.

"I just wanted to add one point," Mayor de Blasio said, after a Bratton answer to a question about gang violence. "I really appreciate the fact that the commissioner is focused on some of the challenges we face when it comes to pedestrian fatalities and traffic fatalities. He's a big believer in the direction that we're going to take the city in, the Vision Zero concept," de Blasio said, referring to a plan he endorsed during the campaign to reduce traffic fatalities to zero.

"He gave a really fantastic speech just days before we made the final selection down at, I think it was NYU, on that very topic. And I had the honor of naming our new transportation  commissioner, Polly Trottenberg, a few days ago, and I can tell you that Commissioner Trottenberg and Commissioner Bratton are going to become fast friends as they focus on --"

"-- She already lassoed me to the ground last night," Bratton interjected. 

"See? She's a forceful leader," de Blasio resumed. "There's going to be a real focus on taking on that challenge. It's not crime, necessarily -- some are going to end up being criminal instances, others are not, but it is a huge public safety problem and an area where we're going to focus a lot of energy."

And, picking up the Alfonse and Gaston routine, Bratton elaborated on de Blasio's point: "Just look at the reports this morning, we've had in the beginning of the year, two homicides, and also two traffic fatalities. Last year I think the figures were pretty close. I haven't seen the end-of-year figures, but the number of people whose lives were lost in traffic-related incidents -- a life lost is a life lost. A family grieves. That intensive focus on traffic issues is one of the areas the mayor has asked us to prioritize."

 

Tags:

Comments [7]

Chang from NYC

I'm a pedestrian and driver also. So I have a perspective from driver. Who is not interested in reducing tragedies? But why in the hell pedestrians cross street in front of car moving at 40mph? Car is equipped with 100mph and 200 hp. One maniac on wheel can kill you. So if it happens on the road, why pedestrians are not conditioned to stop at curb and watch before crossing? Speeding cars don't pop out of nowhere suddenly. They are visible from distance. I'm the only one to say this. But speed alone doesn't kill people like race car on track can't kill because there are nobody on the way. I'm not trying to blame pedestrians and justify speeding cars. I'm trying to reduce avoidable tragedies and pedestrians have control over not to be on harm's way if watch more carefully when life and death involves.

School should teach practical skill of how to cross street before math and streets right out of school are the best place to exercise. When I cross street against light, I wait to let go fast cars usually with hand signal and walk or run behind cars. With walk sign, I still watch all lanes and especially turning cars. If I'm in a hurry I stop the car with hand signal, eye contact, still keep monitor move (possible brake failure) and walk fast. If I'm not in a hurry, I walk parallel or use hand signal to let go car and walk behind and watch next car and stop it. It's not the matter of right of way. I feel safe when I WALK PARALLEL (facing only) OR BEHIND cars. Zero collision. And as a driver, I understand frustration of waiting to turn and miss the light in line.

Habit of using hand signal to drivers is very important, because drivers can't read intention of pedestrians who hesitate and try to go quick in front. Most of pedestrians have poker face not showing intention like holding a card towards oneself. So turn the card to show I'm crossing.

More to be continued on practical tips for crossing.

Feb. 03 2014 05:06 AM
SACKETT from NEW YORK

ONE OF THE BIGGEST PROBLEMS IS TRAFFIC TURNING RIGHT OR LEFT INTO THE WALK LANE, WHILE PEDESTRIANS
ARE CROSSING WITH THE GREEN LIGHT.
IS IT NOT POSSIBLE TO ADD AN ARROW, RED AND GREEN, ON THE MAIN TRAFFIC ROBOT, TO DESIGNATE WHEN TRAFFIC CAN PROCEED INTO THE WALKWAY. OBVIOUSLY, RED, WHEN PEDESTRIANS ARE CROSSING AND GREEN
TO TURN INTO THE WALKWAY, WHEN NO PEDESTRIANS ARE CROSSING.
I REALIZE THAT YOU CAN NOT CONTROL ALL BEHAVIOR BUT , AT LEAST, THIS WOULD BE A SAFETY STEP
FOR PEDESTRIANS.

Jan. 16 2014 04:11 PM
Opus the Poet from The Beautiful Suburbs of Hell

Given the differences in the lethality of motor vehicles compared to guns (motor vehicles are several hundred times more lethal) the wonder isn't that so many are killed but rather that so few are. Still there are things that can be done to reduce that level of lethality, first and foremost is reducing speed between intersections. According to studies published by the US and the UK (separate studies that came up with nearly identical numbers) under 20 MPH motor vehicles are about 5% lethal or 1 in 20 wrecks will kill a pedestrian or cyclist and 50% will walk away. When that speed increases to just 30 MPH 45% (UK) to 50% (US) will die or 1 in 2. That's a 10 times more deadly wreck at a change in speed of only 10 MPH. 5% (US and UK) are capable of walking away when hit at 30 MPH. Take that to 40 MPH (still a common speed on NYC streets outside of rush hour) and nobody walks away and 85% die within 30 days, roughly 8 out of 10, another 40 times more deadly than 30 MPH and 400 times 20 MPH.

Contrast that with the fatality rate of bullets hitting people not protected by armor and you get 9% fatality, or 1 out of 11 dying when shot (2004 US CDC).

Jan. 06 2014 09:51 PM
John Smith from NYC

NYCer,

Following the law will not result in tickets...

Jan. 03 2014 06:04 PM
CG from Greenpoint

5 people killed at the same intersection in Greenpoint, one block away from a school. We need a 20 mile an hour slow zone on McGuinness Blvd. stat. Please sign this petition advocating for speed cameras on this deadly stretch of road.
http://petitions.moveon.org/sign/greenpoints-mcguinness.fb73?source=s.icn.fb&r_by=5262988

http://greenpointers.com/2013/12/30/people-here-arent-afraid-of-getting-mugged-theyre-afraid-of-getting-hit-assemblyman-lentol/#more-30183

Jan. 03 2014 04:06 PM
NYCer than You from Right Here as always

In other words... Here comes a ticket blitz. For your own safety, of course!

Hopefully, all these transplanted "advocates" crying foul about our hometown streets will follow Sadik-Khan to whatever city she infects next.

Jan. 03 2014 09:40 AM
Al Cinamon from Yonkers

It's heartening to hear politicians talk about ending traffic fatalities. But it will not end until drivers are held accountable for their irresponsible behavior. The mayor says it's not necessarily a crime to kill a pedestrian. I beg to differ. "I couldn't stop" should never be a valid excuse. It's an admission that they were driving too fast for conditions, which is against the law. And the other excuse, "I didn't see him" is also bogus. Driving a vehicle is a full time job that requires the driver's full attention. Driving distracted is also against the law. I will be watching to see if this police commissioner charges killer drivers with anything more than a traffic ticket!

Jan. 03 2014 09:17 AM

Leave a Comment

Email addresses are required but never displayed.

The Morning Brief

Enter your email address and we’ll send you our top 5 stories every day, plus breaking news and weather.

Sponsored