Queens tops the list of this year’s safest pedestrian boroughs according to the city’s latest report on traffice related deaths.
Mayor Bill de Blasio made the announcement today at the NYPD’s Central Garage in Woodside, where he thanked City workers responsible for implementing Vision Zero, his initiative that aims to achieve a highway system with no fatalities or serious injuries involving road traffic.
In 2017, 214 people, 101 of them pedestrians, were lost in traffic crashes. This compares to 231 total fatalities and 148 pedestrians in 2016. These reductions are sharply bucking the national trend. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), traffic fatalities nationwide have increased more than 13 percent from 2013-2016.
“Vision Zero is working. The lower speed limit, increased enforcement and safer street designs are all building on each other to keep New Yorkers safe. Now we must deepen this work. Not even a single tragedy on our streets is acceptable, and we’ll keep fighting every day to protect our people,” said de Blasio.
In Queens, 2017 saw 59 fatalities compared to 65 in 2016, a 9 percent decline from a previous low of 63 fatalities in 2011.
According to the new report, this year, the Department of Transportation (DOT) completed its third phase of street redesign along Queens Boulevard in Rego Park and Forest Hills with numerous safety improvements, including adding 2.6 protected bike lane miles.
Once known as “the Boulevard of Death,” Queens Boulevard in 2017 had a third consecutive year without a single pedestrian or cyclist fatality. Meanwhile, in November, DOT and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) unveiled Select Bus Service along Woodhaven and Crossbay Boulevards.
“Queens Boulevard is proof that longstanding notions of intractable problems can be solved with determination, perseverance and fresh thinking. I am proud of our work on Queens Boulevard and throughout the City to lower the traffic fatalities,” said New York City Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Astoria, East Elmhurst, Jackson Heights, Long Island City, Maspeth, Sunnyside and Woodside)
As part of the initiative, Queens saw expanded exclusive pedestrian crossing time, modified signal timing to reduce off-peak speeding, installation of expanded speed limit signage at all priority corridors as well as, installation of additional lighting under elevated trains and at other key transit stops.
“One fatality is one too many, but as a supporter of Mayor de Blasio’s Vision Zero, it is encouraging to see how the plan has been successful in reducing, for the fourth consecutive year, the number of traffic-related deaths on our roads and streets,” said State Senator Jose Peralta (D-Corona, East Elmhurst, Elmhurst, Jackson Heights and Woodside) who went on to tout his school zone speed camera program.
“It is my hope that in 2018 we are finally able to pass my proposal to expand the school zone speed camera program. This is all just about protecting New Yorkers. Together we made and are making progress,” added Peralta.
“Vision Zero has truly saved lives — of family members, friends, neighbors and fellow New Yorkers. In 2017, under the Mayor’s leadership, DOT’s work helped fuel a historic drop in pedestrian fatalities, including through a record number of street safety redesigns and turning treatments, and by reprogramming a record number of traffic signals to give pedestrians a head start in crosswalks,” said DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg.