Friday’s Headlines: The Legacy of Vision Zero Edition

This is a split second before Jose Alzorriz (right) was killed just waiting for a light in 2019. His killer might never have been charged without video.
This is a split second before Jose Alzorriz (right) was killed just waiting for a light in 2019. His killer might never have been charged without video.

The mayor gleefully crushed illegal dirt bikes and all-terrain vehicles in Staten Island yesterday (amNY), but it was a fitting punctuation mark on a week that has been dominated by his administration’s failure to keep reckless drivers off the road after a driver with 91 speeding and red-light camera tickets killed a 3-month-old baby in Brooklyn.

The dirt bike crush was widely mocked on social media because as bad as illegal dirt bikes are, their danger pales in comparison to cars.

The dirt bike photo op came a few hours after a reporter at the mayor’s daily press briefing asked about the legacy of Vision Zero as de Blasio moves towards what many hope will be his retirement from politics. The mayor said Vision Zero had been a success, even though road deaths this year are the highest they have ever been on his watch.

“What I’m proud of is we’ve changed the entire dialogue, the entire assumption about what can be done,” he said. “When I announced Vision Zero in 2014, so many naysayers that said it would not work, it could not work, New Yorkers would reject it. And, in fact, it’s now something that is very, very intensely supported by New Yorkers.”

Given how much support his street designs get from most of the community boards in town, that point is highly debatable. He then went on to falsely claim that “there’s greater enforcement by the NYPD.” Um, there isn’t. Moving violation summonses are down 50 percent since de Blasio took office.

And then he blamed the pandemic for the increase in road deaths.

“If people want to have an honest conversation, then we have to understand a global pandemic disrupted a huge amount of progress,” he said. “If you want to understand these big initiatives over eight years, then look at 2014 through 2019 and see what you see. [But] 2020, 2021 are massively affected by pandemic — such a total impact on our society, you can’t act like that didn’t happen. What has happened as a result, way too many people are in their cars, and some of them are acting very recklessly.”

Then he punted to the next mayor to complete the job he couldn’t complete.

“We have to do more and more and more get people back to subways, buses, ferries, you name it, bikes, out of cars,” he said. “That is the number one thing we need to do to restore the progress of Vision Zero.”

Well, the first step really would be to fix the existing problems in his own City Hall, given even more coverage of the city’s failure to protect Baby Apolline. Indeed, the Daily News followed our big scoop yesterday that the city would run the reckless driver re-education classes itself after badly botching the contracting process to find a company to do it. Meanwhile, the Post cast doubt on whether the program will properly keep tabs on drivers after they complete the safety course.

So clearly there is lots of work to be done, Mayor Adams.

In other news from a slow news day:

  • Eat your heart out, Bill de Blasio: Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo is running for president. (Quartz)
  • A piece in Bloomberg talks about how density, transit and vibrant streets can be the key to New York’s survival as a vital, thriving city.
  • More evidence that car owners have no clue. A woman posted on Nextdoor that rats had gotten into her engine block because of the “COVID sheds” in her neighborhood. Sorry, lady, but rats have been eating car hoses since long before the current increase in sidewalk eateries (Washington Post).
  • Even as he claims to be fighting car culture, the mayor put out a new list of “Gridlock Alert Days” that had three more warning dates than the same list put out in 2019. (Streetsblog via Twitter)

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