On Wednesday, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced an additional $400 million for the city’s Vision Zero initiative, to ensure a school crossing guard at every post, and make major engineering and safety improvements to high-risk city streets.
The added funding will push Vision Zero’s overall five-year budget to $1.6 billion, with $25 million allocated to hiring 300 crossing guards for school intersections, said the Mayor. The goal is to fill every available post over the next four years.
Funding will also be allocated to upgrading intersections at bike lane networks, at a rate of 20 intersections per year. According to the Mayor’s office, nearly 90 percent of fatalities and severe injuries to cyclists happen at intersections.
“The City of New York is home to more than 8.5 million residents who walk, cycle, or drive throughout the five boroughs. No one should ever feel afraid of crossing a street or intersection within their own community,” said Council Member Laurie A. Cumbo, Chair of the Committee on Women’s Issues.
Other projects include additional left-turn traffic calming measures at left turns, in response to the DOT’s 2016 report Don’t Cut Corners. The budget also includes funding 120 handheld laser speed detection guns for the NYPD’s arsenal, increasing speed detection equipment for precincts by 50 percent.
Vision Zero, the mayor’s program to reduce traffic injuries and fatalities, announced in early January that in 2016 the city saw the fewest traffic fatalities in its recorded history, with 229 traffic-related deaths — a 23 percent decrease since before Vision Zero began in 2013.
“With three straight years of declining traffic fatalities in New York City that are strongly countering national trends, Vision Zero has already made a difference in saving lives,” said de Blasio. “But we have said that we must always do more.”
Brooklyn Boro President Eric Adams praised the initiative while addressing the spate of recent traffic-related deaths in 2017, including Rafael Nieves in Williamsburg, Marlon Palacios in East Flatbush, and Iosif Plazinskiy in Sheepshead Bay.
“We cannot and must not accept anything less than Vision Zero, and we must have far greater accountability for hit-and-run drivers in particular,” said Adams in early January.