Friday, November 8, 2013

Parents of Slain Child To Mayor-elect deBlasio: Prioritize Street Safety

Losing your child to a careless driver is a pain I can't even imagine.  And it happens way more often than we should be willing to accept.  The Queens couple who recently lost their three-year-old daughter took to the Op-Ed pages of the Daily News today to wring some change from their tragedy:
There were 274 traffic fatalities citywide in 2012, including 148 pedestrians killed by vehicles.
While some people might think it’s unrealistic to try to drive this number down to zero, that’s not so. This is a morally necessary and achievable goal that every family in New York needs our mayor to pursue. In fact, we hope the mayor-elect won’t wait until he takes office on Jan. 1, but will immediately begin to work toward this goal.
Statistics show that most crashes are caused by drivers who are breaking the law. The leading cause of fatal crashes is speeding, and the leading factor in crashes that cause injury is failure to yield to pedestrians.
Drivers routinely violate the laws on speeding and pedestrian right-of-way for a very simple reason: The NYPD does not prioritize their enforcement. To start, de Blasio must appoint a police commissioner who understands the urgent need to deter reckless driving, and who has a plan to do so.
We are also going to be watching carefully as de Blasio chooses a transportation commissioner to take over from Janette Sadik-Khan.
During Mayor Bloomberg’s three terms, fatal traffic crashes have dropped by more than 30%. That’s largely a testament to Sadik-Khan’s leadership on designing safer streets.
Street-safety innovations like pedestrian plazas, protected bike lanes, neighborhood slow zones and speeding enforcement cameras have all been signature achievements of this administration.
In recent months, in fact, the city has ramped up these efforts — putting speed cameras in place around select schools and new speed bumps in neighborhoods across the city.
Now we need a transportation commissioner who will spread these safety features beyond the handful of neighborhoods where they’ve been put in place so far. Citywide implementation would go a long way toward the goal of greater equity that de Blasio spoke of so often during the campaign.

I urge you to read the whole thing.  I do have high hopes for street safety improvements in the deBlasio administration.  After early missteps, Bloomberg's appointment of Sadik-Khan to head up DOT led to a golden age for street safety improvements in NYC.  But we can still do better.  There is much work to be done, and we need the cooperation of not just DOT but also NYPD if we're going to end the bloodshed on our streets and sidewalks.

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