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Vision Zero for cities symposium tackles traffic safety

| November 17, 2014 | 0 Comments

Last week in Brooklyn, advocacy group Transportation Alternatives held the Vision Zero For Cities Symposium, a panel on Vision Zero, New York City’s movement to reduce traffic injuries to zero with the guiding principle that “No human being should be killed or seriously injured in traffic.”

The event included leaders from the NYC Department of Transportation, the Mayor’s Office, the Taxi and Limousine Commission, and the NYPD as well as other city agencies, and groups such as the Urban Land Institute, Families for Safe Streets, and others. On the table for discussion: how implementing Vision Zero can impact New Yorkers’ lives, and how stakeholders can enforce, communicate, and finance the program.

25 mph

Shifting New York’s speed limit down by 5 mph in most places has been a signature success of New York’s Vision Zero program. From NYCDOT.

Some takeaways from the discussion:

  • The speed limit for Queens Boulevard, long nicknamed the “Boulevard of Death,” will be dropped to 25 mph from its existing 30 mph by the year’s end, said Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg, who delivered the event’s keynote address. Plus, the city’s DOT will start hosting meetings to begin a redesign of the infamous boulevard.
  • In a panel called “Breaking the Silos: Interagency Collaboration for Vision Zero,” city agencies discussed how they are working together in unprecedented ways to address ped safety. As Gabe Klein of the Urban Land Institute put it, “If you don’t declare [pedestrians first], the car is king by default.”
  • One example: TLC, working with information from the DMV, is issuing bad drivers four times as many suspensions or revocations this year. (This is a marked improvement; as Streetsblog reports, “For three years, TLC let 4,500 dangerous drivers stay on the road because it incorrectly tabulated data.”) TLC will also continue to use CANceivers, which record months’ worth of data on cab driving; black box technology for city cabs is also in the works.
  • The city’s speed limit has dropped to 25 mph. Information will be shared with the public via TLC and NYPD public service videos, signage, social media, and through a NYPD partnership with navigation app, Waze.
  • Traffic safety must be considered a global health crisis, tweeted the National Association of City Transportation Officials. 1.25 million people die yearly in traffic.
  • In a panel called “Innovation from Around the Globe,” Janette Sadik-Kahn, the city’s former DOT commissioner known for bike lane advocacy, discussed traffic enforcement and road safety along with other experts: “We can end the indifference to death on our streets. We can. We must,” she was tweeted as saying.
  • “Getting to Vision Zero isn’t about perfecting human behavior. It’s about accounting for reality,” Paul Steely White, executive director of Transportation Alternatives, summarized the symposium’s “collectively drafted Vision Zero principles.”

Learn more about the Vision Zero plan, as well as the Vision Zero Crash & Interventions Map, which highlights traffic fatality information throughout New York City.

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Category: Miscellaneous, municipal

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