Rodriguez: Wouldn’t DOT Like More Vision Zero Funding? Trottenberg: Nope

The de Blasio administration continues to resist the City Council’s efforts to devote more resources to street redesigns that will save lives.

Speaking at a transportation committee hearing yesterday, Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg said DOT has sufficient funding in the city budget to redesign, within six to seven years, the 292 dangerous intersections where most fatal traffic crashes occur. That “general timetable” is based on an annual pace of redesigning between 50 and 80 of the intersections identified by DOT in its pedestrian safety action plans.

While DOT may be on track to hit that implementation target, the city is not on track to achieve the mayor’s Vision Zero goal of eliminating traffic deaths by 2024. After declining in the first two years of the de Blasio administration, fatalities did not drop through February this year — the last time the city updated its public crash data. Advocates have noted that at the current rate, the city will not eliminate fatalities until the 2050s.

In a statement following March’s hearing, Transportation Alternatives Executive Director Paul Steely White called on the city to increase funding for operational projects — which can make streets safer quickly and at a low cost — to $52.4 million for 98 projects total, compared to 80 completed by the city in 2015.

Transportation Chair Ydanis Rodriguez expressed frustration that de Blasio’s executive budget adds no new dollars for Vision Zero street safety projects, which the council requested during the preliminary budget process. He pressed Trottenberg on the pace of progress on wide, arterial streets in particular, where the majority of fatal crashes occur.

Trottenberg reiterated her previous stance that DOT does not need more funding for street redesigns, arguing that progress on arterials was not solely a matter of money. “It’s partially a funding issue, but it’s partially a project delivery and staffing issue,” she said, pointing to the extensive communication and outreach DOT conducts for even its quick and low-cost projects.

But if that’s the case, additional resources in the budget should still help DOT staff up and deliver more projects. For whatever reason, the de Blasio administration has decided against increasing its capacity to implement street redesigns.

  • J

    I just don’t understand this. Why would Trottenberg stand in the way of safer streets????? WTF???

    There’s blood on her hands for this.

  • BBnet3000

    If they’re as flush as she claims why haven’t we upgraded any of our bike infra from shitty paint or replaced the mixing zones with split phase signals? Why are there so few corner bulbouts in the city?

  • c2check

    They could expand their capacity for good re-designs by cutting out “extensive communication and outreach DOT conducts for even its quick and low-cost projects”. With such projects, JUST DO IT ALREADY.

  • Kevin Love

    “It’s partially a funding issue, but it’s partially a project delivery and staffing issue”

    Because staff work for free?

    Seriously, when was the last time in the history of the human race that a bureaucracy turned down extra money to do more things?

    Bizarre!

  • Kevin Love

    Sure! Make them pilot projects and then do the “extensive communication and outreach” after implementation to determine if they should be made permanent.

  • Simon Phearson

    I expect she’s telling the council what BdB wants her to. He doesn’t want to push harder on street redesigns than the DOT already is, so the DOT is politely telling the council – thanks, but no thanks.

    BdB doesn’t want to risk too much political capital on Vision Zero. It’s just not that big of a priority for him. So he stands up for a couple of band-aids – lower speed limits, ROW law – and pushes a handful of high-profile redesigns – Queens Boulevard – and then leaves it at that. He doesn’t want to tackle a comprehensive cultural battle where the DOT implements lots of low-profile, proven improvements on numerous street corners, because that’s where a broad base of support in this city (in his estimation) starts to make noise and resist. He’ll fight for Queens Boulevard, but Clinton Avenue is likely dead, for instance.

    He’s the same way on the NYPD commissioner. Bratton is allowed to do whatever he wants because BdB just doesn’t want to have another high-profile fight with the NYPD. It’s too distracting from whatever it is he actually wants to accomplish (jury is still out on whether he has anything in mind) to effect real reform at the NYPD. That’s why the SBA president is seriously being considered for Bratton’s replacement. The BdB is just hitting the snooze button on every issue outside of his core interests (whatever they are).

  • Nathan Rosenquist

    Trottenberg’s just chicken. She doesn’t want to rock the boat and awaken the NIMBYs, the bikelash, the motor maniacs. While she has a somewhat progressive vision she’s just not willing to fight the good fight like Sadik-Khan was, she’s a bureaucrat who sees a slow but steady road to her goal that unfortunately does not consider the detriments to quality of life and seemingly endless fatalities that will accrue while the public waits on her tortoise of an agency.

  • Jules1

    That’s her boss’s issue, not hers. DeBlasio needs to be held accountable for this wanton BS.

  • Jules1

    Absolutely unacceptable behavior from the DeBlasio administration. Among other things that more money could pay for is more staffing to do pro-active hand-holding and get buy-in to deal with NIMBY concerns.

  • J

    Probably, but she’s the mouthpiece, so she’s not exactly part of the solution.

  • neroden

    Zero Vision.

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