Officials with the city’s transportation department and with the NYPD came to Chinatown this morning to talk up the de Blasio administration’s latest successes in reducing traffic deaths.
Ryan Russo and Juan Martinez from DOT and NYPD Inspector Dennis Fulton stood at the entrance of the Manhattan Bridge at Canal Street during this morning’s media event. The total number of people killed in traffic crashes last year was 229, compared with 234 in 2015.
But as the New York Times pointed out in a story earlier today, pedestrian deaths went up to 144 (6 more than the previous year). After the mayor instituted his Vision Zero program, New York streets became safer, but now some transportation safety advocates worry that progress has stalled.
The officials were asked about these concerns today. In response, they emphasized positive three year trends for Vision Zero. Addressing complaints that safety improvements take too long, DOT representatives argued that large-scale redesign projects can’t be done overnight (they require community board consultations, traffic studies, etc., which are time consuming).
Just last month, DOT officials were on the Lower East Side to unveil a new protected bike lane on Chrystie Street and to celebrate a redesign of the streets around the Manhattan Bridge, completed several months ago. The city’s Vision Zero map shows three traffic fatalities on the Lower East in the past year.