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Brooklyn streets part of Vision Zero expansion

Seven percent of all New York City intersections are responsible for nearly 50 percent of the crashes, city says

February 19, 2019 By Paula Katinas Brooklyn Daily Eagle
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Several busy streets in Brooklyn will get extra attention from the city’s Department of Transportation as part of an expansion of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Vision Zero program, which aims to eliminate pedestrian fatalities on the streets of New York.

The mayor came to William McKinley Intermediate School in Bay Ridge on Tuesday to announce the start of the next phase of Vision Zero, including a new round of Borough Pedestrian Safety Action Plans. The plans are a key part of Vision Zero that employ traffic calming measures and other safety features at dangerous intersections where numerous crashes have taken place.

The previous set of Borough Pedestrian Safety Action Plans rolled out in 2015.

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Streets in Brooklyn named Tuesday to the Priority Corridors list are:

  • Eighth Avenue from 39th Street to 73rd Street
  • Surf Avenue from Ocean Parkway to Atlantic Avenue
  • Linden Boulevard from Flatbush Avenue to Sapphire Street
  • Bedford Avenue from Manhattan Avenue to Flatbush Avenue

The DOT will be changing the timing of traffic lights, altering pedestrian signals to give pedestrians more time to cross the street and installing other safety measures on the roadways.

The Priority Corridors list was composed after DOT discovered that just seven percent of all intersections in New York City are responsible for nearly 50 percent of the crashes resulting in pedestrian fatalities or serious injuries.

The city will also conduct educational outreach to communities and beef up enforcement of dangerous drivers.

“Whatever it takes, we will do it immediately,” de Blasio said at the press conference.

Officers will be cracking down on speeding and inattentive drivers, according to NYPD Chief of Transportation Thomas Chan.

“Speeding is a major factor in terms of injuries and fatalities,” he said. Another factor is drivers who don’t watch out for pedestrians while making left-hand turns, Chan said. “Left-hand turns cause three times as many injuries,” he said.

DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg said the success of the Borough Pedestrian Safety Action Plans can be seen in the statistics. The agency has addressed safety issues in 90 percent of the Priority Corridors and, as a result, there has been a 36 percent decrease in crash fatalities at those locations, she said.

“We’ve seen that our interventions have worked,” Trottenberg said.

Since Vision Zero’s inception five years ago, there has been a sharp decrease in traffic fatalities, according to the DOT. Fatalities are down nearly a third as compared to the year before Vision Zero was implemented.

The mayor said 2018 was “the safest year in more than a century” on the streets of New York City. “You have to go way back to 1910,” he said.

But de Blasio also admitted that there have been seven more fatalities so far in 2019 than there were during the same time period last year. The city will be investigating the uptick, he said.

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