De Blasio’s Budget Has No Funding Increase for Street Safety Projects

Mayor de Blasio released his executive budget yesterday, and it does not include the increases for street safety projects that the City Council recommended earlier this month, says Transportation Alternatives. Without more funding for street redesigns, TA says, the administration won’t be able to improve safety at the pace needed to attain the mayor’s stated goal of eliminating traffic deaths by 2024.

On street safety, de Blasio hasn’t put his money where his mouth is.

De Blasio’s revised executive budget includes a small 1.3 percent increase for DOT’s Traffic Operations division, which executes the low-cost “operational” street safety projects that can be completed much faster than years-long capital projects. It’s not a meaningful change.

At a March budget hearing in the City Council, Transportation Alternatives Executive Director Paul Steely White said DOT would need to double the number of low-cost redesigns projects it completes each year in order to meet its Vision Zero goals.

At the same hearing, DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg said it would take “many billions of dollars” to redesign the priority corridors and intersections identified in the city’s pedestrian safety plans, while insisting, “We very much feel we have the resources we need.”

But at the current pace of improvement, NYC won’t get to zero traffic deaths until the 2050s.

The City Council recommended an additional $52.4 million in FY 2017 for 98 “operational” projects in its response to the mayor’s budget, a roughly 25 percent increase. The council also proposed $250 million in annual capital funding for street redesigns.

The budget City Hall released yesterday follows none of those recommendations.

“It’s not what we expect from an administration that’s supposed to be putting traffic safety front and center,” TA Policy and Research Manager Julia Kite told Streetsblog. “We’d like to see [street redesigns] treated like the priority that we think they are.”

While pedestrian fatalities declined in the first two years of the de Blasio administration, Kite said that as of April 15, the number of fatalities is exactly the same as in 2015.

White added that redesigning streets is even more important given the NYPD’s lack of commitment to Vision Zero enforcement.

On May 17, the City Council transportation committee is set for another hearing with DOT on the budget. White said there’s still time for de Blasio to dedicate more resources to streets.

  • jooltman

    I can’t wait to vote for a mayor that cares whether my family lives or dies on our neighborhood streets.

  • J

    I don’t get de Blasio. Who is he trying to please with this move? The anti-safety coalition?

  • Drivers who feel that safety improvements somehow infringe their constitutionality protected right to drive dangerous through the nation’s most densely populated city.

  • J

    Yeah, but they DEFINITELY won’t be voting for de Blasio. Why try to pander to them now?

  • new yorker

    DeBlasio is just a terrible politician, by softening Vision Zero he is alienating his base while pandering to a group that will never vote for him.

  • Zero Vision

    De Blasio is doling out $183 water bill rebates to pander to homeowners who probably won’t vote for him anyway. Meanwhile, $183 could buy a handful of plastic delineators and a few gallons of paint to put a JSK-style curb extension on a corner. Do that a few hundred thousand times and you’d save a lot of innocent New Yorkers from injury or death.

    I’ll wait to see who the competition is, but safe street advocates should probably not vote for de Blasio again. Maybe then he’d start pandering to us.

  • new yorker

    This is a “mayor of the people” who gets motorcaded 11 miles to his gym every morning. I think he might be a lost cause for safe street advocates.

  • Joe R.

    We could knock it but repaving streets definitely benefits cyclists. Potholes are my second biggest complaint about cycling in NYC.

  • BBnet3000

    He never even did Bike To Work Day when he lived in Park Slope and worked at the Municipal Building.

    To be fair, no New York Mayor has as far as I know. Even Ed Lee does it in San Francisco and he’s pretty much their Bill Bratton as far as cycling is concerned.

  • It does, and I appreciate the newly paved Prospect Park running and biking lanes. But why not take some of that $186 million and invest in bike lanes while also repaving the streets? It’s the perfect opportunity to fix systematic problems.

  • new yorker

    I don’t expect him to go as far as biking/transit/walking to work (but that would be nice). I do expect him or any other mayor though to take actions and care about a major public safety crisis in the city.

  • Joe R.

    I agree. Besides lack of bike lanes, two systematic problems are constant utility work and underlying issues with the subroadbed which cause recurring potholes. Rather than just slapping on a quick and dirty layer of asphalt, we should relocate the utilities to concrete trenches covered by metal plates, and fix the subroadbed problems. While those are being done, use the opportunity to reconfigure the street by adding pedestrian refuges, bulbouts, bike lanes, bus lanes, etc.

  • dporpentine

    This really is de Blasio’s problem: he speaks to no constituency whatsoever. Bloomberg was the essence of a fake technocrat, but at least he knew his fake technocrat shtick appealed to a certain portion of the city.

    De Blasio just speeds past every constituency in the city, throwing out half-baked policies from his SUV window, and can never understand why no one thanks him.

  • Larry Littlefield

    How many miles of streets will be paved per year?

    How many are there?

    How often do they need to be repaved, and then more how many miles need to be repaired to break even?

    My impression is that we had fallen below ongoing maintenance since pension costs exploded after the year 2000. But fortunately, they repaved the streets around me.

  • kevd

    “I appreciate the newly paved Prospect Park running and biking lanes.” and now that cars don’t use it every evening, they will last much much longer between repavings.

    It would be nice if the poorer side of the park could get cars out too…

  • rubendiazsandwich

    It’s crazy. I see him at the Prospect Park YMCA almost every morning, leisurely working out until 10:00. How does a mayor have time to drive 11 miles to the gym and do a leisurely workout? If I were him, I’d be getting swol at 5:30am at Asphalt Green and then getting my butt to work on a Citi Bike down the east side to be at my desk by 8:00am.

  • Joe R.

    It was looking at those charts extrapolating current trends versus what is needed to get to zero by 2024. I think both lines fail to account for the fact streets with motor vehicles on them can never be inherently safe. The 10% per year decline, assuming that’s even a valid trend, will NOT continue asymptotically to zero. Rather, it’ll level off at maybe 1/3 to 1/2 of present fatalities. The only way to do significantly better than that is to get nonessential motor vehicles off NYC streets entirely. That still won’t get us all the way to zero but it might bring the number of deaths to single digits. To get to zero you’ll have to remove motor vehicles altogether. If those on top are really committed to this goal, then it’s time to acknowledge what is really needed to reach it. Once we do, policy decisions can follow naturally.

  • Zero Vision

    He will say that he does work in the car, answers emails on his Blackberry, etc. But the optics are terrible. Vision Zero, a progressive transportation policy… it requires a head cheerleader and de Blasio isn’t it. It also reeks of limousine liberalism. Do as I say, not as I do.

  • I heard BDB playing CYA on Brian Lehrer this morning. 1) he NEVER gave a damn about street safety and never will because it is Bloombergian 2) he has bigger problems now 3) I truly believe this man has a serious thinking disorder.