Tuesday’s Headlines: Zero Vision Edition

48th-junked-car-with vision zero logo

Why did Vision Zero fail in America? Why are deaths rising again in cities such as New York and Los Angeles — both of which were, at one time, models for how transportation officials could reduce crashes and deaths with a combination of road redesign, enforcement, education and car reduction strategies?

The reason, argues David Zipper in this compelling Bloomberg piece, is the same reason that we have failed on climate change, or failed on affordable housing, or failed on any number of urgent matters that we all know need to be addressed by aren’t.

We just don’t seem capable of doing what needs to be done. In the case of road violence, the answer is clear: We need to engineer every street — not just a few Vision Zero corridors — to make it impossible for drivers to race at excessive speeds or to kill pedestrians when they make the inevitable mistake that humans inevitably make. We need to reduce the size of, and the overall number, of cars. We need to take driving privileges away from those who abuse them.

This isn’t rocket science. But it’s also not human nature. After all, in the face of her own government’s mandates to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, Gov. Hochul last week erased the state’s gas tax, which reduces driving and funds transit.

We don’t do what we need to do. So of course people are dying and the planet is warming.

In other news:

  • Speaking of the climate, Bronx residents are angry at the state’s slow pace on fixing it (Bronx Times), but the head of the Building and Construction Trades Council thinks everything will be just fine. (amNY)
  • The Times did a feature on whether remote work will kill the city. The paper should have linked to Dave Colon’s interesting story yesterday about how Monday has the lowest subway ridership of the week, as workers take three-day weekends.
  • Students rallied at City Hall on Monday to protest the city’s notoriously slow buses, which add to their anxiety and distract them from their studies. (NYDN)
  • The Tri-State Transportation Campaign is no fan of the proposed LaGuardia ferry, which we’re going to start calling Hochul’s Folly. (TSTC Blog)
  • Speaking of ferries, Colin Jost took his (and Pete Davidson’s) Staten Island ferry boat out for a ride (with the help of a tug). (NY Post and the Times, which is weird)
  • When ya gotta go, you gotta…kill two cyclists? (NY Post)DN wood on correction promotion
  • Here’s some solid reporting in the Daily News about a Corrections official who drove drunk, crashed her car and got promoted (right). But is that a Pink Floyd pun in the headline that no one will understand? (Hint here.)
  • Speaking of lying cops, cops lie a lot — and rarely get punished, according to a new report. (NY Post, NYDN)
  • Like Streetsblog, amNY also covered yesterday’s admission by the Department of Investigation that the agency is failing to look into placard abuse, as required by law.
  • Juneteenth is now an official city holiday. (NY Post)
  • Indoor mask mandates have returned to the so-called Sixth Borough. (NY Post)
  • From the assignment desk: In honor of National Work Zone Awareness Week (which is apparently a real thing), reps from the city departments of Transportation, Environmental Protection and Design and Construction will gather at a DOT maintenance yard in Lower Manhattan on Tuesday to remind motorists “to give their undivided attention to active work zones and to highlight the additional protection for employees in work zones.” In other words, give those workers a brake! It’s at noon at 303 South St.
  • Finally, we just got the good news that Friend of Streetsblog Simi Horwitz won a merit award from the Silurian Press Club for her feature story, “The Ultimate Obit: The Real, Unabridged, Authorized, Warts-and-All Saga of Brooklyn Trolley King Bob Diamond.” She’ll pick up the award on June 15 at the National Arts Club. Why not re-read the story?

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Advocates: Ethical Standards Demand Zero Tolerance for Traffic Deaths

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Traffic deaths need to be treated as an ethical imperative to save lives, said representatives from Transportation Alternatives, the Drum Major Institute, and the medical community today at the public release of the new report, “Vision Zero” [PDF]. “It is simply unacceptable for people to die in traffic,” said T.A. Executive Director Paul Steely White, […]