Transportation Alternatives releases street safety “report card”

A new Transportation Alternatives (TA) “report card” released on Wednesday, July 29 awarded letter grades to elected officials, and government agencies on their efforts to make city streets safer.

The “Class of Vision Zero: Mid-Year Report Card” put Mayor Bill de Blasio at the head of the class with an A-minus, a grade TA said he received for mandating the installation of side guards on city trucks, for standing up for the Right of Way Law and for breaking ground on the redesign of Queens Boulevard.

The mayor was faulted, however, for not dedicating enough funding for street safety improvements in the Department of Transportation’s budget, according to TA.

A number of city agencies – such as the NYPD, the MTA, and the Taxi and Limousine Commission – received grades in the C range while the lowest grade – a D – went to the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles, an agency TA said “has no agenda on Vision Zero,” and does not even have a commissioner.

“In 2014, New York City took bold steps to implement the Vision Zero Action Plan, setting the speed limit at a safer 25 miles per hour, strengthening enforcement against the most dangerous traffic violations, and enacting new laws to hold drivers accountable for reckless and negligent behavior at the wheel,” said TA Executive Director Paul Steely White, “but after beginning to move in the right direction last year, the statistics on traffic deaths and serious injuries are holding steady so far in 2015. This year, we need more than an action plan.”

The report card, he said, is the first in what will be a series of bi-annual performance reviews of the city’s efforts to end traffic fatalities and serious injuries by 2024.

“The members of the Vision Zero Task Force need to set yearly timetables to make sure those injury and fatality numbers keep falling,” White said.

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