City Hall Has Allowed a Blackout on Vision Zero Crash Data Since February

A trucker killed cyclist James Gregg in Park Slope in April. With City Hall withholding crash data, the public doesn’t know how many other serious crashes are occurring. Photo: Eric McClure
A trucker killed Brooklyn cyclist James Gregg in April, one of the serious crashes that have yet to be accounted for on City Hall’s Vision Zero View site. Photo: Eric McClure

Is NYC reducing traffic injuries and deaths as called for by Mayor de Blasio’s Vision Zero initiative? The public has no way to know, because the city hasn’t published crash data since the end of February and won’t start again until sometime this summer.

City Hall’s Vision Zero View map was a breakthrough when it debuted in 2014, providing frequent updates on traffic deaths and injuries. It quickly became an indispensable tool to assess progress on street safety, with data refreshed every month. But the most recent data in the system is now three months old.

After City Hall stopped posting new data, with no advance notice, a note on the map said the city is “transitioning to a new electronic crash data reporting system,” and Vision Zero View would be updated when the transition is complete. No timeline was provided.

NYPD also stopped posting its monthly crash reports after February. However, the department recently resumed publishing crash data on the city’s open data portal, after the feed went dark for about two months.

We asked de Blasio’s office when City Hall expects the new Vision Zero View system to come online, and why the city can’t continue publishing data on the current platform while the new one is in development.

“We expect the feed to be restored this summer at which point any old data will be posted retroactively,” de Blasio spokesperson Austin Finan replied via email.

Can you imagine the city putting an indefinite hold on the release of gun crime stats while NYPD developed CompStat 2.0? Yet de Blasio’s office won’t say why it was necessary to stop using the existing traffic crash data platform, and won’t provide a hard deadline for the resumption of data releases.

Until that undetermined date, when it comes to tracking progress on street safety, New Yorkers are in the dark.

  • ADN

    NYC’s Vision Zero effort, particularly as implemented by NYPD, is a failed policy and, one way or another, the numbers will show that. No sense in trying to hide it. Put it out there and bring people together to start to talk about policies and ideas that will really work to reduce vehicular violence on NYC streets.

  • BBnet3000

    Design should have had a larger role to begin with, but particularly so given the complete sandbagging by Bratton’s NYPD.

  • It’s cool though. They started ticketing taxis who don’t have visible Vision Zero stickers. A great success.

  • Still pretty cool that no one can name a potential candidate for the mayor’s office who has better bona fides on Vision Zero than the mayor – a man who definitely isn’t perfect and definitely may have used VZ as a clumsy attempt to bring safe streets advocates into his coalition.

    I look forward to a day when you’ve all made your council reps strong VZ advocates so that we have choices in future elections, so keep sending all those letters, showing up to hearings, submitting editorials to community publications, calling your CM’s office and being on a first name basis with the community and legislative representatives there.

    Oh wait, you’re here instead… leaving comments… congrats, you win the Internet…

  • Perhaps it’s a little gross that we have government leaders who still think of social media as the place where mole people want to mob-shame them out of their jobs & have no use otherwise… but despite their reflexive distaste of the peanut gallery online, they sort of have a point. It becomes too easy to become angry in the comments and, eventually, too hard to talk to the existing parts of the world where we need to be heard. It’s of little/no use to be scathing to people in elected roles, and it’s extremely effective (even for a single individual) to just be part of the legislative and election processes.

  • …said the guy in the comments section. 🙂

    What’s the basis for this criticism? Most people I know on here are very involved in all of the things you say. Many people use this space to learn about community board hearings. Others post contact info for legislative representatives when big issues arise. Some of us even formed a political action committee to help elect those representatives!

    And just because there isn’t a potential mayor on the horizon who’s better on these issues doesn’t mean advocates should just put up with the faults in Vision Zero’s implementation under this one. Streetsblog calls attention to these matters and people use that information to act.

  • NYer

    Actually, most of City Council is strong on livable streets and Vision Zero. This has been one of the biggest advocacy accomplishments of the last ten years — transforming City Council from mostly awful to mostly good. And this is one of the biggest shames of the current situation — even with all of the work that advocates have done to bring around the mayor and City Council, we still can’t seem to get good, basic policy implemented.

  • WalkingNPR

    Having bona fides on Vision Zero at this point is about like having bona fides on what peanut butter Choosy Moms Choose. Vision Zero–the program that focused on designing the danger out of roads rather than counting on individuals to behave safely–is quite effective. Vision Zero, the brand that is sweeping the US that seems to mean nothing in particular except giving people the warm fuzzies that’ they’re doing something, is not.

    DeBlasio clearly doesn’t understand–and has demonstrated over and over how he doesn’t understand–what it takes to make real reforms to our dangerous driving culture. And he appointed a DOT Commissioner who doesn’t know and doesn’t seem to care, either. Bloomberg/JSK did a lot more without all the talk. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again–this watered-down, status-quo-rebranded-as-Vision-Zero is going to do more harm than good when people throw up their hands and say “See? Vision Zero didn’t work!”

    And, btw, I work on this stuff-one of my current research projects is about what a mess US Vision Zero is. I went to Albany for speed cameras, etc etc. And i comment on Streetsblog. See, I can do multiple things….

  • FYI, it’s a step in a good direction here that the focus of this conversation is somewhat on the things that we do that improve the status quo.

    I agree that the US implementations of Vision Zero are a mess, that there is no pressure on many elected officials and agencies to keep high standards but rather to just make incremental improvements at the convenience of “the powers that be”, which sometimes does lead to dramatic improvements but more frequently reinforces stagnation. And that’s happening here, quite obviously, with even established programs run at large scale being reduced to ineffective trickles. (Painting the lanes in the streets is not a “Vision Zero” novelty; and we’re still getting worse at it every year)

    In the case of NYC, I agree that the mayor and his commissioners are not strong enough forces for true Vision Zero to thrive… I sometimes think that relative weakness is what comes under fire because no one sees where the strongest pushback is actually coming from. (I do not think neighborhood NIMBYs are a significant force in city planning, and often they have little traction in the watered-down advisory community board format) It continues to be the case that career bureaucrats in key city agencies are the source of a lot of inertia across all the services & planning in NYC. While this isn’t an excuse for complete lack of movement, it’s important to remember that individuals working for the city can be a collectively powerful counterforce to progressive politics – and coping with that needs to be part of the outside activism plan as well as part of the administration’s agenda.

    Meanwhile, uncompromising words applied to the administration will exert some pressure… insulting words will just make sure we’re all seen as lunatics.

  • The idea is, if you’re doing both, then leaving some comments does little harm unless they’re completely unprofessional comments.

    But if you’re also on the outside & working with the process… then who should we be supporting?

  • We should be supporting amazing City Council members like Vanessa Gibson, Ydanis Rodriguez, Carlos Menchaca, Antonio Reynoso, Mark Levine, Brad Lander, Ritchie Torres, Steve Levin, and more who have held the administration’s feet to the fire on all kinds of Vision-Zero-related issues.

  • Andres Dee

    If CompStat were to go down, the city would probably tout it as proof that there’s no more crime.

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