Can City Reduce Ped Traffic Fatalities to Zero?

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There has already been one victory in the fight for improved pedestrian safety: The speed limit on Prospect Park West where 12-year-old Sammy Cohen Eckstein was killed last year was reduced to 25 miles an hour earlier this month. A long, sad story in the New York Times over the weekend about how his death galvanized his parents to become traffic safety activists put ped fatalities into perspective.

Every 30 hours, someone dies from a traffic crash in New York City. Fatalities decreased during the Bloomberg years but increased in the last two years to about 286 in 2013. The majority of deaths are pedestrians and cyclists.

But it used to be worse. In 1990, 701 people died in traffic crashes. In 1929, 1,390 died.

Now activists are pushing to “bring the number to zero, or close to it. It’s a Swedish concept called Vision Zero, and Mayor de Blasio embraced the idea at a news conference in mid-January,” said the Times. The story summarizes the cases of children killed recently by cars, and talks about de Blasio’s support for the initiatives. But it doesn’t mention that the recent targeting of jaywalkers on the Upper West Side led police to rough up an 84-year-old pedestrian.

After a Son’s Death, Parents Channel Their Grief Into Activism [NY Times]
Police Shift Focus From Crime to Traffic Safety [NY Post]
Photo by Leslie Albrecht for DNAinfo

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