Queens Borough President Melinda Katz today joined New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, Police Commissioner Bill Bratton, incoming NYC Department of Transportation (DOT) Commissioner Polly Trottenberg, Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley and Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) Chief Operating Officer Conan Freud at a Woodside, Queens press conference during which Mayor de Blasio announced his “Vision Zero” initiative to reduce the number of traffic fatalities in the city to zero within ten years.
The initiative will include tougher NYPD enforcement efforts, the implementation of improvements at at least 50 corridors and intersections per year citywide, an expansion in the number of 20 mph zones and the pursuit of a legislative agenda that includes getting the state legislature to allow the city to deploy red light and speed enforcement cameras based on safety needs.
“My mother was killed by a drunk driver, so I take traffic safety issues very personally,” Katz said. “That’s why I am so impressed with the mayor’s ‘Vision Zero’ plan and am optimistic that its goal of reducing the number of traffic deaths to zero will become a welcome reality.”
“We need innovative measures and regulations to make our streets safe,” Katz added. “Pedestrian accidents and fatalities are not a foregone conclusion. With concrete action, we can reduce the number of accidents and save lives that would have otherwise been lost.”
During today’s press conference, Mayor de Blasio announced that a working group of representatives from the NYPD, NYC DOT, the city’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and the TLC will report to him by February 15 with concrete plans to for implementing the “Vision Zero” initiative. As an immediate step, the Mayor announced that recently installed speed cameras will begin to be used for issuing tickets tomorrow as part of an effort to enforce the speed limit on dangerous streets.
According to the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, being struck by a car is the leading cause of injury-related death for children younger than 14 and is the second leading cause of injury-related death for senior citizens.
The press conference was held near the corner of Northern Boulevard and 61st Street, the dangerous Woodside intersection where 8-year-old Noshat Nahian was struck and killed in the crosswalk while walking to school in December.
“I look forward to working with the Mayor to implement the preventative strategies needed to make sure that tragedies like the one that befell young Noshat Nahian will never happen again,” Katz said.