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Vision Zero: Mayor de Blasio Proposed Budget Invests in More Crossing Guards and Street Safety Redesigns

January 25, 2017

With safest-ever year in 2016, New York City's FY18 budget will accelerate street redesigns and increase Vision Zero traffic enforcement -- dedicating an additional $400 million over next five years

NEW YORK—Mayor Bill de Blasio today announced that the proposed New York City budget for Fiscal Year 2018 would include an unprecedented commitment to Vision Zero, his signature program to reduce traffic injuries and fatalities. The budget will expand the City’s five-year commitment to traffic safety to $1.6 billion, dedicating over $400 million in new resources for street redesign, street markings, lighting and other engineering improvements, while increasing the number of NYPD crossing guards and increasing capacity of the NYPD to crack down on dangerous driving.  The Mayor made his announcement in front of the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, at the intersection of Atlantic and Flatbush Avenues, which will be among DOT’s targets for major safety improvements in 2017.  He was joined at the announcement by Doren Johnson, a 16-year old LaGuardia High School student injured in a crash at this location two years ago.

"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 Mayor Bill de Blasio. "But we have said that we must always do more. Our proposed budget will allow us to keep kids safe around our schools and expand DOT's most effective efforts to make our streets even safer."

"As we further expand our commitment to Vision Zero, New York City has bucked national trends around traffic safety," said DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg. "With this new budget, we thank Mayor de Blasio for his continued strong leadership to continue that momentum in advancing the cause of safe streets. After three years of record progress on street redesign, we look forward to fulfilling the Mayor's charge to do even more."

"New York City continues to lead the way on Traffic Safety,” said Chief Thomas M. Chan. “With a strong foundation already in place, the Mayor’s new budget will build upon this by providing local precincts with additional state-of-the-art equipment for speed enforcement which is critical to the success of the Vision Zero initiative. The addition of School Crossing Guards and supervisors will help to ensure full coverage on the existing School Crossing Guard Posts; providing safe passage to and from school for our children. The Mayor’s budget strengthens the Police Department’s position in pursuit of Vision Zero.”
Vision Zero highlights from the FY18 Preliminary Budget include:

  • Ensure School Crossing Guards at Every Post (FY17 $5.4M, FY18 $6.3M, FY19 $6.7M, FY20 and out $7.2M) Hire 100 full-time School Crossing Guard supervisors and 200 additional part-time School Crossing Guards to ensure 100 percent coverage at all school crossing posts citywide and create a mobile replacement squad to prevent empty posts from absence. While crossing posts are currently covered at near 100 percent rates by using Traffic Enforcement Agents and occasionally police officers, this funding ensures full coverage by crossing guards, allowing these agents and officers to be redeployed to other duties, including enforcement against dangerous driving.
  • Expanded Vision Zero Capital Funding for Major Street Safety Reconstruction. (FY18-FY23 $317M) DOT capital street projects are major street construction projects that often include full reconstruction of the roadbed, sidewalks and underlying infrastructure. These projects can completely realign complex intersections or provide permanent safety improvements like raised medians, while enhancing the livability of communities. These dollars represent a major long-term commitment to building out safer corridors and intersections for years to come. 
  • Faster Replacement and Refurbishment of Street Markings and Safer Crosswalks Citywide. (FY17 $7M, FY18 $12M, FY19 $15M, FY20 $17M, FY21 $19M) Street markings are now updated on a replacement cycle that on average is over 6 years -- which has sometimes led to faded markings late in the cycle.  New funding will provide for a new 4.5-year replacement cycle for existing markings, and also support the addition of 15 million linear feet of new markings per year for wider deployment of safer street designs.  With this change, DOT will make the high-visibility “piano-key” crosswalk the standard crosswalk citywide.
  • Intersection Upgrades Along Bike Lane Network for Safer Cycling. (FY 17 $245K, FY18 $690K, FY19 $649K, FY20-21 $607K) This funding will enable a new program dedicated to targeted safety enhancements and upgrades at key intersections within the bike network.  Nearly 90 percent of fatalities and severe injuries to cyclists occur at intersections and about 20 intersections will be improved per year.
  • Quick-Install Left-Turn Calming Measures at Hundreds of Intersections. (FY18 $325K, FY19-FY21 $275K) In 2016, DOT published an analysis, Don't Cut Corners, which revealed that left turns are three teams as likely to cause serious pedestrian crashes as right turns.  In response, DOT developed new treatments to calm left turns and installed them at over 100 intersections. This new funding will help DOT install and maintain the treatments at about 100 other high-risk intersections per year.  
  • Increase the Number of Enhanced Pedestrian Crossings. (FY17 $66K, FY18-21 $242K) Improve safety and accessibility of intersections that are not suitable for traffic signals or stop signs. This new program combines elements including high-visibility marked crosswalks, ADA-compliant pedestrian ramps and crossing signs, and will allow DOT to study up to 100 intersections for the treatment each year.
  • Brighter Lighting at 1,000 High-Risk Intersections. (FY18 $636K, FY19-21 $566K).  Only 13 percent of pedestrian travel occurs during darkness, but approximately 40 percent of pedestrian fatalities occur during this time. In order to reduce the risk DOT will boost lighting at approximately 1,000 intersections across the City by adding additional lights over crosswalks, doubling the number of lighting upgrades DOT has performed since 2013.
  • Increased Speed Detection and Traffic Enforcement Tools for Every NYPD Precinct. (FY18 $550K) This new money will allow the purchase of 120 handheld laser speed detection guns to be deployed to the local precincts – increasing the speed detection equipment at the precinct level by 50 percent. Each precinct currently has two speed detection guns. This will provide a third for each precinct, as well as spares to mitigate equipment downtime, and 15 vehicle mounted lasers for the Highway District. 

"To achieve Vision Zero, we need an all-in commitment from every stakeholders on our city's highways and byways, a commitment of behavior that puts safety first and foremost. Ensuring our communities are safe places to raise healthy children and families also requires a significant investment of resources to address the high risks on our streets, redesigning infrastructure and employing crossing guards. I thank Mayor de Blasio and DOT Commissioner Trottenberg for their steadfast dedication to moving New York City closer to a true Vision Zero, and I will continue to be relentless in my role as a safe streets advocate to making that vision a true reality," said Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams.

“We commend Mayor de Blasio for expanding funding for the ongoing Vision Zero initiative which has already improved safety on our roadways in Queens and throughout all five boroughs,” said Queens Borough President Melinda Katz. “Our City is much safer thanks to the elements of the Vision Zero initiative that have been put in place, and increased investments would do even more to protect our children, pedestrians, bicyclists and motorists.”

“It is investments like these that show how serious New York takes ending traffic fatalities for good,” said Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez, Chair of the Committee on Transportation. “With more funding for major capital improvements to troubled intersections and corridors, as well as for on-street markings and lighting, the City can better ensure the safety of all street users. I look forward to diving into details about this funding in our upcoming hearing on Thursday, January 26th. I want to thank Mayor de Blasio for doubling down on the city’s commitment to achieve Vision Zero on schedule.”

"School crossing guards are the lifeblood of student safety and I applaud Mayor de Blasio for including $6.3 million in his FY18 Preliminary Budget in order to increase the school crossing guard headcount by 200 and hire 100 School Crossing Guard Supervisors, a new position newly created through these funds," said Council Member Vanessa L. Gibson, Chair of the Committee on Public Safety. "Any post left empty is unacceptable and for the past two years, I have worked with the NYPD, the DOE, the DOT, and my Council Colleagues on developing a solution to empty crossing guard posts and mandate coverage for days when the assigned crossing guard is unable to work.  This investment assures parents, teachers, and educators citywide that we take public safety very seriously in our efforts to create safer streets at school intersections.  I thank the Administration for recognizing the need for this critical investment and taking this much needed step to ensure our children’s safety.”

 “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. These critical investments to the Vision Zero initiative will accelerate our efforts to create safer streets, prevent crashes, and save lives. Through continuous street improvements and enforcement, we can enhance traffic safety for pedestrians, cyclists, and motorists. I want to thank Mayor de Blasio, DOT Commissioner Trottenberg, and NYPD Transportation Chief Chan for their unwavering commitment to ‘getting to zero,’” said Council Member Laurie A. Cumbo, Chair of the Committee on Women's Issues.

 “I’m thrilled that for the first time in the City’s history we will have School Crossing Guards at every post. For years, the Council has fought for this important investment which will keep our kids safe,” says Council Member Brad Lander. “I am also excited to see significant increases in funding for safer intersections throughout the City, and commend the City’s commitment to significantly stronger enforcement of speeding and failure to yield violations in every NYPD precinct.”

"School crossing guards are not a luxury, but an absolute necessity to keep all of our students safe," said Council Member Margaret S. Chin. "While we appreciate our traffic enforcement agents and police officers, nothing can replace the consistent and watchful presence of a crossing guard on our city's streets. That is why I welcome this budget commitment to ensure that every crossing guard post is filled. Together with increased investment in street safety design, our Mayor is continuing his historic Vision Zero commitment to protect New Yorkers of all ages."

"Building on last year's success of Vision Zero, Mayor de Blasio's proposed budget will leave no school crossing post vacant while providing DOT with necessary funds to continue to improve street safety citywide,” said Council Member Vincent Gentile.

"Vision Zero is saving lives, and we must continue to do everything we can to provide New Yorkers with safe streets. The Mayor's budget proposal for Vision Zero calls for smart, effective measures that will protect bikers and pedestrians from cars making dangerous left turns, ensures school crossing guards on every post in the City, and engineering improvements in our streets. I applaud the Mayor and the engineers at DOT for their nuanced and sensible approach to street safety," said Council Member Helen Rosenthal.

“I couldn't be more pleased to see the enhancements in the Mayor's preliminary budget to keep our streets safer. That's what Vision Zero is all about.  I thank the Mayor, the Department of Transportation, and NYPD for its openness and persistence in creating an environment where everyone using the road wins. By working together, we are stronger and safer,” said Assemblymember Jo Anne Simon.

For more information on Vision Zero, please see

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