De Blasio Says He’s Fully Funding Vision Zero Priority Projects. He Isn’t.

Despite what Mayor de Blasio says, NYC is not funding street redesigns at the rate prescribed by Vision Zero.
Despite what Mayor de Blasio says, NYC is not funding street redesigns at the rate prescribed by Vision Zero. Image: Transportation Alternatives

On his weekly Brian Lehrer show appearance this morning, Mayor de Blasio said the city is fully funding Vision Zero street redesigns. The numbers tell a different story.

During the Q&A segment, Families for Safe Streets member Mary Beth Kelly told de Blasio 204 people walking and biking have been killed by drivers on Vision Zero priority corridors since January 2015, and that only a fourth of those corridors have received redesign treatments. Kelly asked the mayor to commit to speeding up funding for Vision Zero priority projects.

Here is de Blasio’s response in full:

I appreciate the question very much and I appreciate the work that you do and your colleagues do because it’s been decisive to Vision Zero, particularly in terms of the fights you’ve waged in Albany to get us things like the speed cameras around schools. And we want to do even more of that, and I’m very hopeful there is a Democratic Senate. There’ll be a willingness to go farther with us in protecting kids and seniors and implementing Vision Zero.

We are very aggressively moving those safety redesign efforts. There’s no lack of funding, and there’s no lack of will. And you know Queens Boulevard is a huge example of this, a place we used call the ‘Boulevard of Death’ and thank god we have not fatalities the last two years because we’re doing redesign, because of bike lanes, because of the reduction in speed limit, because we’re enforcing the speed limit with the NYPD. So we’re very, very adamant about moving these as quickly as possible. I’ll talk to Commissioner Trottenberg to see if there’s anything else that she needs to continue to speed things up, but she’s gotten the order from me to do everything as quickly as humanly possible.

We will also be doing more enforcement. The NYPD is continuing to ratchet up enforcement on speeding and on failure to yield, and you’re going to see more checkpoints as well to inhibit drunk driving. So there’s a lot of Vision Zero pieces that are going to be growing, and the redesigns are absolutely a priority.

Budget figures don’t back up the mayor’s claims. As Streetsblog has reported, last spring Transportation Alternatives found that at the current rate of funding it will take almost 40 years to redesign the priority corridors identified in the DOT’s pedestrian safety action plans — a timetable that stretches decades beyond the Vision Zero goal of eliminating traffic deaths by 2024.

After TA released its analysis and called on officials to act, the City Council recommended increasing the DOT budget for quick-to-implement “operational” projects by about 25 percent. The council also proposed $250 million in annual capital funding for redesign projects. De Blasio declined to follow the council’s recommendations.

Yesterday Families for Safe Streets and TA rallied on the steps of City Hall to urge de Blasio to ramp up street safety funding, after two children were killed last week by reckless drivers in Queens. The mayor says he’s doing everything he can, but his budget says otherwise.

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

TA: Quicker Action on Vision Zero Can Save Thousands of Lives

|
The de Blasio administration is making progress on street safety, but not fast enough to achieve the mayor’s Vision Zero target of eliminating traffic deaths by 2024, Transportation Alternatives says in a new report. At the current rate of improvement, it will take nearly 40 years to reach that goal. Advocates from TA, Families for Safe Streets, […]

Advocates Ask City Council to Fully Fund Vision Zero Street Improvements

|
If the city hopes to dramatically decrease the number of traffic fatalities in New York City, DOT needs more resources to redesign the city’s most dangerous corridors and intersections. That’s the message 70 members of Transportation Alternatives brought to the City Council yesterday, meeting with 21 council members or their staff. “We are calling on the council to increase funding and watchdog […]

De Blasio: Street Safety Advocates Not “Looking at the Facts”

|
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 […]

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 […]

TA: City Hall’s Spending Decisions Are Limiting Life-Saving Street Designs

|
Transportation Alternatives says the de Blasio administration’s failure to fully fund Vision Zero street improvements is limiting the number of split-phase traffic signals DOT can install to prevent collisions at dangerous intersections. In June, 30-year-old cyclist Olga Cook was killed by an allegedly drunk driver who made a right turn across the Hudson River Greenway at Chambers Street, one […]