On Wednesday, Mayor De Blasio explained the details of “Vision Zero,” his plan to eliminate traffic fatalities in New York City by the year 2024. The plan is inspired by the recent rise in pedestrian deaths due to speeding in residential areas. Already in 2014, eleven people have died from traffic-related accidents in the city, seven of whom were pedestrians crossing the street.
Long-term, De Blasio’s plan consists of pushing for tougher laws and greater enforcement throughout the city. The goal is to increase the staff of the New York Police Department (NYPD)’s highway division by fifty percent in order to more effectively investigate accidents and hand out speeding tickets. The mayor has also commissioned a task force of leaders from the NYPD, Department of Transportation, Department of Health, and the Taxi and Limousine Commission to come up with ways to prevent tragedies caused by traffic accidents on New York City streets.
More immediately, Vision Zero means the installation of new speed cameras throughout the city which will issue traffic fines, and not merely warnings, to drivers caught exceeding the speed limit. In place as of January 17th, the cameras will be moved from intersection to intersection all over the city to get people out of the habit of speeding. De Blasio further plans to petition the state Legislature for greater authority to install the new speed cameras all over the five boroughs of New York City. In addition, Vision Zero will result in more residential areas, and not just those neighboring schools, being given the designation of slow zones with a reduced 20 mile per hour speed limit.