New York City government worked tirelessly to make the streets safer for pedestrians, bicyclists, and drivers in 2016—and, as a result, there were fewer traffic fatalities in 2016 than any other year since the City started to keep count in 1910. In total, traffic fatalities in New York City have dropped 23 percent since Mayor Bill de Blasio launched his “Vision Zero” plan in 2013.
Here are highlights from last year:
- A record number of street redesigns: The City’s Department of Transportation (DOT) completed more than 100 safety projects, improved the timing of traffic lights on 165 miles of roadway, and installed 18.5 miles of protected bike lanes, 405 speed bumps, and over 750 pedestrian “head starts” (which give pedestrians several seconds to start crossing an intersection before drivers get a green light).
- Fewer fatalities at the locations targeted by Vision Zero as a high priority: Traffic fatalities at these 175 intersections and roadways have declined by 29 percent.
- Fewest-ever fatalities in Brooklyn (a 24 percent drop) and significant decreases in Staten Island.
- Queens Boulevard, once known as “the Boulevard of Death,” had no traffic fatalities for the second year in a row.
- Lowest-ever fatalities among school-aged children. DOT and the Department of Education brought the “Cross This Way” course to fourth through sixth graders to teach them how to navigate traffic safely.
- Thanks to the Dusk and Darkness Initiative, which promotes greater enforcement during the fall and winter evening hours (the most dangerous to pedestrians), traffic fatalities dropped by 25 percent in the fall and winter of 2016.
- Starting a pilot program to slow down left turns at 107 intersections. Left turns lead to three times as many serious crashes as right turns.