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Vision Zero Package Clears City Council

Thursday, May 29, 2014 - 04:51 PM

Taxis in Times Square (Kate Hinds/WNYC)

New York's City Council overwhelmingly passed a legislative package aimed to dramatically reduce traffic fatalities.

"At the end of the day, we feel that these new laws will strengthen our city's ability to avoid death and injuries caused by car crashes," said Ydanis Rodriguez, the chair of the council's transportation committee.

The 11 bills and six resolutions cleared a full vote Thursday afternoon. In a statement, Mayor Bill de Blasio called the bills "a major step forward for our Vision Zero initiative. They will protect families and make our neighborhoods safer." He thanked the council "for its partnership keeping New York City streets safe.”

The legislation requires the city to create seven new "slow zones" each year for the next two years, fix broken traffic signals within 24 hours, and create stiffer penalties for drivers who break traffic law. One of the bills will also require the city's Taxi and Limousine Commission to revoke the TLC licenses of cab drivers convicted of a violation that caused a critical injury or death.

That isn't finding favor in the taxi industry. Bhairavi Desai, the head of the Taxi Workers Alliance, said it scapegoats cabbies. "It doesn't make sense when you take the motorists who have the best driving records in the city of New York," she said, "and pass laws and rules that target them for the harshest penalties."

But Ydanis Rodriguez said it's about setting a good example. Before the council voted, he spoke directly to cab and livery drivers during a press conference. "You are the most important cars in the city," he said. "Therefore, we must hold you to the highest standards in the city. These are not punitive measures, but rather assurances that you will continue to drive with the utmost care so that other drivers will follow your lead."

The pieces of legislation will go into effect when the mayor signs them. The accompanying resolutions, however, are aimed squarely at Albany and will require state legislators to act. The city wants more control over its state-regulated traffic camera program. 

Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer said the cameras aren't about ticket revenue. "We're not interested in playing a game of gotcha," he said. "We're interested in changing behavior and making sure people are held accountable for breaking the law."

"If you speed on the streets of New York, if you are breaking the law, you should get a ticket. If you run red lights...you are endangering the lives of your neighbors," he added. "People should not complain they get a ticket if they blow a light."

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Comments [3]

Michael from New York City

Ydanis Rodriguez, the chair of the council's transportation committee...

" Ydanis Rodriguez - it's about setting a good example. Before the council voted, he spoke directly to cab and livery drivers during a press conference. "You are the most important cars in the city," he said. "Therefore, we must hold you to the highest standards in the city. These are not punitive measures, but rather assurances that you will continue to drive with the utmost care so that other drivers will follow your lead."

Oh - OK. Well then - how about applying this rule to ALL the members of the New York City Council - and the NYPD !! The deBlasio regime conitues it's attack on the WORKING POOR !! And - while we're at it - register, license and INSURE the bicycles in New York City !! The geniuses at he City Council are so in love with themselves that they fail to se that their ZERO VISION deah trap will get ride of professional drivers, thereby risking public safety. EQUAL PROTECTION UNDER THE LAW !!! NOW !!!

Jun. 14 2014 07:16 PM
Chang from Manhattan

I had one English friend who impressed me by the way he crossed street. His apartment was directly on the other side of 3ave between two streets. But he made detour to crosswalk and walk around to get to his door! He looked dumb to me but he said that was the way he was trained in England. One German friend told me it is illegal just to put down one foot off sidewalk on the road while cars are moving because pedestrians should respect drivers right of way. Pedestrians have right not to get hit all the time but don't have right of way all the time. Don't get confused. I don't know how children are taught in NYC but at least don't they learn how to cross street safely alone without guard in kindergarten? Why so mindless senseless blank-eyed when they cross street in NYC? I think it's because 1> unlike most of Americans even in the cities like Boston or DC, they don't drive with low car ownership in manhattan using mass transit n cabs 2> NYC spoiled them with a sacred status like cows in India. They can walk around and literally sit in the middle of street under newly opened umbrellas in the name of pedestrian plaza (but why in the busy interaction worsening traffic flow and air quality?) 3> there is a saying in NYC, "I'll sue for millions" but is it worth it in wheelchair?

Even 20, 15, 10mph can kill you. No lower speed limit, cameras, planters, sticks or drones will protect you unless you cross street with more caution and defense. Most of all take advantage of cars standing still at 0mph for 30 seconds.

May. 31 2014 10:01 PM
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY

It's not that I'm against safe streets, I just feel that they won't be safe until all groups play their role. All I say these bills as just placing almost all the blame on one group, while it feels that all others will pretty much get nothing more than a slap on the wrist. As a matter of fact, the group known as Right of Way is known for having an anti-car bias, and they will probably by crying fouls if any enforcement is on them. Even if all motorists follow the rules tomorrow, you will still have cyclists and pedestrians placing themselves into harm's way by flouting the laws themselves, plus I was applauded at a Vision Zero hearing for saying this.

May. 31 2014 12:54 PM

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