Between 2009 and 2011, approximately 450 people died crossing the street in New York City. Whether to reckless driving, not looking both ways, or sheer confusion, the city lost 450 residents. And that’s not counting bicycle fatalities. Needless to say, like subway deaths, it’s become a problem that demands fixing ASAP, especially with the advent of CitiBike next weekend.
Enter Christine Quinn.
In a statement released yesterday, the City Council speaker and mayoral frontrunner laid out her platform on the issue of ground-level urban planning. Her goal is straightforward: By 2021, Quinn wants to cut New York City’s street fatalities in half.
“Whether on four wheels, two wheels or none at all–we need to make sure New Yorkers can safely and easily get around the five boroughs. These proposals will make sure our streets, intersections and crosswalks are not a place where pedestrians and bicyclists lives are at risk and will make commuting by bicycle an easier option for any commuter who chooses it.”
And what exactly are those “proposals”? You’ve heard them all before from Mayor Bloomberg: more speed cameras, coordination of NYPD resources for a heavier street presence, countdown clocks on troubled intersections, and a large focus on integrating the bicycle with the city’s hustle and bustle via bike lanes and the like. It would be a continuation of a policy that the Bloomberg administration has heralded: the idea that the government can direct attention by playing an enormous role in the safety of our streets.
To perform all of these tasks, Quinn wants to set up something called the “Safe Streets Working Group,” which will be a combined effort from the departments of Transportation, Urban Planning, and Health, and the NYPD, to make our streets more walkable. According to the plan, this interagency development would be given the foresight mentioned before–fatalities cut in half by 2021–and the funds to reach it.
Whether it’s achievable is a different story. Regardless, a goal to make our streets safer is never too lofty.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on May 16, 2013