On Monday Mayor Bill de Blasio managed to dismiss very real concerns about Vision Zero progress and the work street safety advocates are doing to stem the bloodshed and grief caused by traffic violence, all in one sentence.
When Politico reporter Laura Nahmias asked about New Yorkers who are holding him to his own administration’s Vision Zero goals, de Blasio reportedly replied: “I think sometimes they’re trying to justify their own role without looking at the facts.”
Here are some facts. The pressure exerted on de Blasio by safety advocates intensified after Queens motorists killed a teenage girl on her way to school and an infant in a stroller on a sidewalk in separate crashes that occurred within a span of five days.
With a few weeks left in the year, the number of people killed and injured by NYC motorists is higher than it was at the same point in 2015. With the city’s street safety record taking a step backward in 2016, advocates have a responsibility to call out de Blasio’s complacency.
Last week de Blasio implied he is fully funding Vision Zero street redesigns. But rather than ramp up funding, he has actually allowed it to stagnate, putting the completion of priority safety projects — those identified by DOT as the most critical to reducing injuries and deaths — well beyond Vision Zero’s 10-year timetable.
De Blasio deserves credit for initiating Vision Zero and backing it up with new laws and street designs. That early momentum is flagging, and it looks like advocates need to turn up the pressure on the mayor to get it back.