Mayor de Blasio Kicks Off Construction On Street Redesigns From Harlem To Hollis

Mayor Bill de Blasio today announced that with the arrival of spring and warmer weather, the City is beginning work on dozens of Vision Zero street redesign and construction safety projects as part of a $1.6 billion safety initiative. New Yorkers will see new crosswalks, wider sidewalks, pedestrian refuge medians and new protected bicycle lanes in every borough. The Mayor joined agency commissioners to inspect improvements underway at the entrance to the Brooklyn Bridge at Tillary Street, an area where 482 people have been injured, 23 of them seriously and one person killed over the last five years. One of the biggest overhauls this season, the project includes a wide new promenade for cyclists and pedestrians using the bridge, new crosswalks, trees and medians.

“Dangerous streets have to change,” said Mayor de Blasio.  “We want to get the word out: we’re moving lanes, adding new space for pedestrians and making it safer to cross intersections—all to keep your family safe. These changes have helped make each of the last three years under Vision Zero safer than the last.”

Spring brings more than just new road engineering. Thanks to a Vision Zero education and enforcement campaign targeting the darker wintertime evening rush hour, the first quarter of 2017 has so far seen a 20 percent drop in fatalities, or 8 fewer lives lost, compared to the 48 lost in 2016. To continue that progress, the NYPD has augmented failure to yield and speeding enforcement in the early morning hours, which are the most dangerous during the spring.

Enforcement against the most dangerous driving behaviors that put pedestrians and cyclists at risk is up on the year. As of March 20th, NYPD speeding enforcement is up 17 percent year-to-date, and up 67 percent from 2014. Failure to yield enforcement up 29 percent year-to-date, and up 104 percent from 2014.

A citywide Pedestrian Safety initiative was recently conducted from Monday, March 6, 2017 through Sunday March 12, 2017. During that time, 1,915 Failure to Yield to a Pedestrian summonses were issued (an increase of 121% from the same period last year) and 12,088 other Vision Zero summonses were issued. A total of 17,416 summonses were issued for the initiative.

NYPD has a Speed Enforcement initiative currently underway. It began Monday, March 20th and concludes March 26th. NYPD is in the process of planning two more for April along with other regularly scheduled enforcement blitzes throughout the year.

Mayor de Blasio warned that the steady progress under Vision Zero would be undercut by cuts in  transportation programs in President Trump’s proposed budget announced last week.  The budget would completely eliminate important discretionary funding programs like TIGER (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) that would reduce funding for future capital projects like Adams-Tillary.

Since 2014, DOT has committed $98.8 million in Federal funds for over 30 Vision Zero capital projects, including  $7 million in Federal Highway formula funds for the Brooklyn Bridge entrance capital project, $35 million in TIGER funding for the redesign at Fordham Plaza at the Bronx and various other Vision Zero safety improvements.  In addition, NYCDOT’s four-year capital plan (FY17-20) includes over $200 million in Federal funding for dozens of additional Vision Zero capital projects.  Mayor de Blasio and DOT Commissioner Trottenberg—the former federal Undersecretary of Transportation—pledged a bipartisan effort with other major cities to push back on the President’s cuts.

Highlight of this year’s safety project in Harlem (with anticipated season when construction is expected to begin):

  • Broadway, West 155th to West 170th St, Hamilton Heights & Washington Heights: Traffic calming project based on the recommendations from the Washington Heights Transportation Study. Improvements include new pedestrian space, shorter safer crossings, new markings to clarify vehicle movements, and signal timing changes to improve traffic flow. (Spring)

“Thanks to planners, designers, engineers and construction crews, DOT is looking forward to another banner year of street redesigns,” said Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg.  ” While traffic fatalities are increasing nationally, Nw York City is bucking those trends, with the last three years under Vision Zero the safest in our City’s history. Under the leadership of the Mayor and with the hard work of our sister agencies, we will together continue to make progress.”

“As we start 2017, the City continues to experience decreases in both crime and traffic fatalities,” said NYPD Commissioner James P. O’Neill. “We welcome the early signs of success, yet we remain focused on both.”

“DDC works with DOT in many ways to fulfill Mayor de Blasio’s vision for a safe and equitable City,” said DDC Commissioner Feniosky Peña-Mora. “We are creating Great Streets projects that implement improved designs for pedestrians, and we are completing Select Bus Service corridors in every borough, with offset bus lanes and safety islands. DDC and DOT also cooperate to redesign complicated intersections and add pedestrian space through plaza projects such as at Astor Place and Times Square, or in Brooklyn at Myrtle Avenue. It’s very gratifying to see the progress within the Vision Zero program, and know that lives have been saved.”

“Over the past three years, we’ve seen major changes to our streets; making them safer for pedestrians, cyclists and all street users alike,” said Council Transportation Chair Ydanis Rodriguez. “Mayor de Blasio and his administration have shown their dedication to street safety and improving our infrastructure with record investments for redesigns and resiliency. These projects will make our city more walkable and people-friendly as we work toward our ambitious Vision Zero goals.”

“Kicking off construction season not only means that we’re digging out of winter, but that we’re building a safer and stronger city,” said Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams. “These critical safety infrastructure projects will not only advance our goal for Vision Zero, but they also work towards zero unemployment, as we create jobs by creating a safer, more environmentally friendly city. From the Belt Parkway to Borinquen Place, Brooklyn will benefit from improvements on our highways and byways.”

“The redesign of the Tillary Street entrance to the Brooklyn Bridge will provide much needed safety improvements, bringing sanity to an historically dangerous intersection, benefitting pedestrians, cyclists and drivers alike,” said Assemblymember Jo Anne Simon. “Thank you to Mayor de Blasio and Commissioner Trottenberg for their commitment to making our streets safer.”

“The start of this construction season signals the end of preventable pedestrian and bicyclist crashes at dozens of dangerous locations throughout the city,” said Veronica Vanterpool, executive director Tri-State Transportation Campaign and member of the MTA Board.  “The street redesigns planned for this construction season are essential to transforming the culture of driving so that the most vulnerable users of our streets–pedestrians and bicyclists of all ages and abilities–benefit from improvements that will keep them alive and safe.”

“This is a great moment as we see the City taking serious action to make the streets safer for cyclists and pedestrians,” said Ken Podziba, President & CEO of Bike New York.  “Vision Zero can only work with the right leadership and proper financial investment, and all New Yorkers should be grateful to Mayor de Blasio and Commissioner Trottenberg for putting the safety and welfare of pedestrians and bicyclists at the very top of their agenda.”

“We are pleased to see the Mayor is emphasizing safety in his continuing redesign of streets all over the city,” said Steve Hindy, a founding member of Families for Safe Streets, a group of New Yorkers who have lost loved ones or have been injured in traffic violence. “The Mayor’s commitment to Vision Zero is good news for pedestrians and bicyclists and all New Yorkers. I hope all our elected officials remember that more than half of New York’s people do not own cars.”

“After making a significant budgetary commitment to transform New York City’s most dangerous corridors with redesigns to protect all street users, Mayor de Blasio is seizing the initiative by launching reconstruction projects as we emerge from winter,” said Paul Steely White, Executive Director of Transportation Alternatives. “With an expected decline in support from Washington, the Mayor’s momentum and leadership on Vision Zero will be more critical than ever in the effort to keep driving traffic deaths down across the five boroughs.”

“We appreciate the Mayor and the DOT’s commitment to Vision Zero. We’re all pedestrians at some point, so smart redesigns that make streets work better for everyone who walks, rides a bike, takes transit, or drives is the right thing to do,” said Nick Sifuentes, Deputy Director of the Riders Alliance.

“Improving safety for the thousands of pedestrians and cyclists who use the Brooklyn Bridge every day has been one of our priorities for years, which is why we are pleased that Mayor de Blasio has addressed these concerns with the Vision Zero redesign of Tillary Street, here at the gateway to Brooklyn,” said Downtown Brooklyn Partnership President Regina Myer.  “We can build on this progress even further by implementing the Brooklyn Strand – a comprehensive plan for transforming existing public spaces throughout the area – that we developed with local community groups.”

“Whether it’s a redesigned entrance to the Brooklyn Bridge, a protected bike lane on Jay Street or neck-downs at crosswalks, Brooklyn Community Board 2 supports the Mayor’s vision for safer streets for pedestrians, cyclists and motorists,” said Community Board 2 Chairperson Shirley A. McRae.

“I am glad to see that the safety of New Yorkers all over the city is being made a priority by the de Blasio Administration. It is also wonderful to see that East New York has been included in the Mayor’s Vision Zero Safety Project! From Housing to new crossings and pedestrian connections, the Mayor is continuously considering East New York. Thank you Mr. Mayor for not leaving us out,” said Nikki Lucas, Female District Leader for the 60th Assembly District and East New York Resident.

For more information about the de Blasio Administrations Vision Zero initiative, see www.nyc.gov/visionzero

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