December 23, 2019
Expanded enforcement during holidays; new 25 MPH speed limit along Third and Hamilton Avenues in Brooklyn
NEW YORK—Today, de Blasio Administration officials came together in Queens to announce increased traffic enforcement during the holiday season, and that the City will lower the speed limit from 30 MPH to 25 MPH along Third and Hamilton Avenues in Brooklyn starting next month. The period around Christmas and New Year’s Day, the darkest days of the year, has also generally been among the deadliest of the year on city streets. Officials also issued an update on traffic fatality trends for 2019: despite setbacks, this year is on track to conclude as the second-safest in New York City’s recorded history.
“While we’ve made tremendous progress over the past six years with Vision Zero, there is still undoubtedly more work to do to make our streets safer,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “The recent traffic fatalities have made us even more determined to keep Vision Zero moving forward. We’re increasing our traffic enforcement efforts and lowering the speed limit on two of Brooklyn’s busiest streets to ensure that all New Yorkers arrive home safely for the holidays.”
“Any life lost is a tragedy, and while we continue to build off the progress from Vision Zero, this year’s challenges reminded us of the work still to be done,” said Deputy Mayor Laura Anglin. “During this final week of 2019, which has historically proven to be one of the most dangerous times of the year, we will be cracking down on dangerous drivers so that everyone can get home to their families for the holidays.”
The Administration, in response to the recent 6 traffic fatalities, announced expanded enforcement efforts, both via the NYPD and through automated enforcement.
“We had a difficult and challenging year under Vision Zero, and as 2019 comes to a close, we want to make sure that this holiday season is a joyous and safe one for all New Yorkers,” said NYC DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg. “We have grieved at the loss of life on our streets this year, particularly along Third Avenue, which has seen six fatalities this year as opposed to two in 2018. The Mayor has asked DOT and NYPD to take aggressive action on this corridor with its challenging mix of residential and industrial uses and heavy traffic on and off the Gowanus Expressway. We believe that lowering the speed limit along Third and Hamilton Avenues, coupled with strong enforcement, will help calm traffic in the burgeoning neighborhoods of Gowanus, Red Hook and Sunset Park. In 2020, DOT will also install additional roadway engineering and capital improvements to help make this challenging corridor even safer.”
“As the start of 2020 approaches, the NYPD renews its commitment to protecting all New Yorkers from dangerous driving behaviors,” said NYPD Chief of Transportation William Morris. “The vision of New York as a city where all members of the community, and particularly bicyclists and pedestrians, can use roads safely without the threat of death or injury remains as compelling as ever. We will continue to work closely with our Vision Zero partners to ensure the successful implementation of the Green Wave Plan.”
Administration officials today also noted the notable Vision Zero trends of 2019:
Agency officials also pointed today to a number of major initiatives undertaken by Vision Zero Task Force agencies in 2019:
“This year we have seen an increase in pedestrian and cyclist deaths across the City. We have also made many strides to make our streets safer for all New Yorkers. We have drastically increased speed cameras around school zones as well as the number of protected bike lane miles across the City,” said Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez, Chairman of the Transportation Committee. “We must continue expanding all forms of protections for cyclists and pedestrians who are the most vulnerable. I will continue working alongside my colleagues, DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg, and advocates to ensure we make New York City the most pedestrian and cyclist friendly in the nation.”
“Loss of life and injury to pedestrians are heartbreaking and tragic. I commend Commissioner Polly Trottenberg and the staff of dedicated professionals at the NYC Department of Transportation for tackling this devastating problem,” said Assembly Member Catherine Nolan. “It is difficult at times to know what the best solutions for crowded streets should be. I know we need to listen to residents, small businesses, community boards and activists in trying to come up with programs that will reflect all concerns. Of course the safety of our people is paramount and I commend NYCDOT for continuing to work on policies that will make it safer for all. I appreciate that a historic site in my assembly district was chosen for these announcements and pledge a renewed effort to work with all on these issues.”
Council Member Brad Lander said: “As we end 2019 with too many tragedies from traffic crash violence — each death stealing the life of a New Yorker and shattering a family — we must rededicate ourselves to the goal of zero fatalities. Reducing the speed limits on 3rd Avenue and Hamilton Avenue, where we lost too many lives this year, is a good step. I’m also committed to reaching an agreement with DOT and the Administration early in the New Year on the Reckless Driver Accountability Act. We can’t wait any longer.”
“For years, residents of Sunset Park have been calling for action as pedestrians and cyclists have been killed by motorists due to an outdated and dangerous transit grid at major roads, like Third Avenue. We are pleased the Mayor has responded; but lowering the speed limit is just the beginning. We need to work together with our city, state, and federal partners to ensure we equitably modernize our infrastructure for all New Yorkers. Four fatalities are already too many, our goal needs to be zero,” said Council Member Carlos Menchaca.
"With over 200,000 licensed drivers, the TLC is proud to play a role in the Mayor's goal of transforming traffic safety though Vision Zero,” said Taxi & Limousine Commission Acting Commissioner Bill Heinzen.“We are committed to ensuring that the City's for-hire drivers make safety their top priority, and we do that through ongoing safety education and outreach, enforcing key traffic safety regulations and suspending unsafe drivers."
“I join our sister agencies in honoring the lives lost in traffic incidents in 2019, and in redoubling our efforts to promote road safety for all New Yorkers,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot. “Vision Zero remains steadfast in its multipronged approach to reducing traffic-related deaths and injuries on our streets, but we know there’s more to be done.”
“The City is taking unprecedented steps to improve the safety of its vehicle fleet,” said Commissioner of the NYC Department of Citywide Administrative Services Lisette Camilo. “We are investing in employee training and new vehicle technology to help prevent collisions and to reduce the risk of serious injury when crashes do occur.”
“As the year 2019 draws to a close, the Business Integrity Commission (BIC) reminds all commercial waste haulers to exercise extreme caution when operating waste-hauling vehicles, to ensure a safe holiday season for everyone who shares our streets. Driving commercial waste collection trucks in New York City is challenging, particularly at night, when a driver’s visibility is limited,” said Commissioner and Chair of the Business Integrity Commission Noah D. Genel. “Trade waste truck drivers must take all precautions to drive safely — including obeying all traffic laws. BIC will continue to work with our Vision Zero partners, particularly the NYPD, to conduct traffic enforcement operations to ensure the safety of all New Yorkers.”
“The fact that we experienced a setback this year shows why continued vigilance around programs like Vision Zero is so important,” said Director of the Mayor’s Office of Operations Jeff Thamkittikasem. “This setback represents lives lost. Our continued analysis, innovation, and swift implementation of what we’ve found to work is vital to making New York City a safer place for pedestrians and cyclists.”
Danny Harris, Executive Director of Transportation Alternatives said: “As New York City saw an increase in cyclist and pedestrian fatalities in 2019, we must increase our focus on the timely implementation of Vision Zero. By using known and proven solutions, we can save lives and provide all New Yorkers with safe, equitable, and dignified transportation alternatives. As advocates, we stand ready to support in achieving these necessary changes.”
“We’re expecting a safe year with more bike use in 2020 thanks to Green Wave plan commitments such as more protected bike lane implementation, better separation from traffic in bike lane designs and innovations like bike-mounted bike network inspectors,“ said Jon Orcutt, Communications Director at Bike New York.
About Vision Zero:
Vision Zero is the de Blasio administration’s initiative to use every tool at its disposal to end traffic deaths and injuries on New York City streets. Since the program’s inaugural year in 2014, when New York City became the first American city to adopt Vision Zero, the city’s traffic fatalities have declined more than 30 percent — bucking national fatality trends, which have increased 15 percent over the same period.
For more information about the de Blasio Administration’s Vision Zero initiative, please see ww.nyc.gov/visionzero.