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Council Member Lappin Calls for Citywide Street Safety Office

Lappin_Speaking.pngJessica Lappin, the sponsor of new street safety legislation. Image: NY Real Estate Law Blog.
In order to create a more tightly integrated public policy on safer streets, Council Member Jessica Lappin introduced legislation yesterday to create a new Office of Road Safety within the Department of Transportation.

Lappin imagines the office creating a citywide response to unsafe streets, combining design improvements with better enforcement, education and research. The Office of Road Safety would host monthly meetings with all the
relevant government agencies: DOT, NYPD, the Health Department, and the
vehicular crimes unit of all five district attorneys' offices. Family members of victims would be present at every session to meet with officials.

"By working together and making road safety a priority," Lappin said, "our city agencies can save lives."

The idea comes from Transportation Alternatives' report "Executive Order," and TA has endorsed the bill. "Every time these agencies have sat around the same table, it has yielded huge gains for street safety," said TA Executive Director Paul Steely White. "We need to institute and formalize this coordination."  

Other council members have also signaled their support. Although they haven't yet signed on as co-sponsors, council members Jimmy Van Bramer, Daniel Dromm, Gale Brewer and Robert Jackson have issued strong statements in favor of the Office of Road Safety. As for hearings and moving the bill forward in committee, Council Member Lappin is
expected to meet with transportation committee chair Jimmy Vacca soon.

What resources the Office of Road Safety would have at its disposal is an open question. According to a Lappin spokesperson, details like funding and staffing will be hashed out once the bill gets a committee hearing. Dedicated staff could spell the difference between a valuable monthly gathering with limited authority and an office with some bureaucratic heft.

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